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The conditions under which the State will dipose of all or part of its share in Aer Lingus
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20 November 2003

To ask the Minister for Transport the conditions under which the State will dispose of all or part of its share in Aer Lingus; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Billy Timmins. (Nominated by: Denis Naughten).
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 20th November, 2003.
Identical Question(s): 33
Ref No:   27708/03     Lottery:   1     Proof:   1


To ask the Minister for Transport if the Government has plans to sell part of its shareholding in Aer Lingus; if so, the timetable for such a sale; if it will involve a public offering of the shares; and if he prefers to sell part of the company in a trade sale to another carrier or other investor.

- Paul Gogarty. (Nominated by: Eamon Ryan).
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 20th November, 2003.
Ref No:   27807/03     Lottery:   42     Proof:   39

Answered by Minister for Transport
(Séamus Brennan)


I propose to answer Question Nos. 7 and 44 together.

As I said in the Dail on October 9th last, no decision on any type of sale transaction for Aer Lingus, or on the timing of a transaction, has been taken by Government.

It is now over six years since the Government first decided to explore the ownership issue which led to the decision in 1999 to embark on an IPO of the airline. 

Since the cancellation of that planned IPO, the necessary focus by the Board and staff of Aer Lingus has been firstly on the implementation of the Survival Plan and more recently in building on the progress made.  I have taken the view since coming into office that the Company needed to continue that focus on positioning the airline so that it can compete successfully and grow profitably.    This it has done and is continuing to do.

It was in that context and taking account of progress in the repositioning of the airline that last July, I asked the Chairman to examine and report back to me on future options for the Company.  The Chairman supplied me with that report recently.  The Companys view is that a private sector investment process should be initiated without delay.

I am currently giving careful consideration to that report and I will be bringing the Aer Lingus views together with my own position to Cabinet in the coming weeks.