June 2, 2015

Aer Lingus can really take off with takeover

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 22 comments ·
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Listening to the debate on Aer Lingus last week was like being propelled backwards to the 1970s when every country had to own an airline. The airline business, like almost every industry, has changed profoundly since then, yet the political language has hardly budged. Why do people think national when they are discussing the most international, by definition, of all industries? It seems like a national airline is an industrial fetish, a bit like the economic equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The plain vanilla commercial reality is that, unfortunately, it is not who owns them that determines whether they thrive or not, but how many choose to travel with them.

So the national interest is whether the airline has a solid future.

This seems so obvious but unfortunately many people continue to argue that “we need links to the outside world” and therefore having a domestic, or at least part domestically-owned, national carrier, is essential. But consider the fact that Ireland became an exporting and trading phenomenon without a national shipping company, yet the vast majority of our trade goes by sea.

Many shipping companies use our ports. They are competitive, they do the job and do you have any idea what they are called? Do you care? The same goes for air transport. You don’t need a government-controlled airline to be a normal country plugged into the world; nor do you need a government-controlled shipping company to be a trading economy.

Once we appreciate this fact, it’s easier to see what is in the best interest of Aer Lingus, the company and its staff. The single best underwriter of Aer Lingus will be the number of passengers.

There are two big trends in the international airline business. The first is low cost in rich countries and the second is full service in growing parts of the world. In Europe, the low cost carriers are cleaning up.

Even though people still think of Ryanair as the upstart and Aer Lingus as the incumbent, Ryanair will carry 90 million passengers to Aer Lingus’s nine million. The upstart is ten times bigger than the old hand.

Even BA, a company indelibly linked with British air travel, is only the third biggest carrier in Britain, behind Easyjet and Ryanair. In fact, Ryanair’s ambition is to grow to 150 million passengers by 2020 and next year to knock Easyjet off its number one perch across the water. Ryanair is three times bigger than BA and 30 per cent bigger than German giant Lufthansa.

Ryanair has spawned copycat airlines such as Norwegian, Pegasus Airways, Wings and Wizz, all challenging conventional carriers. The future of mass-market air travel in Europe is low cost. And the trick the low-cost carriers stumbled upon is a bit of consumer psychology that we never thought about: people don’t so much travel to destinations as travel at a price – and if you make the price low enough, people will take a chance.

Also cheaper fuel has enhanced the profitability of low-costs airlines over full-service ones. This is because the low cost can squeeze almost every cost bar fuel. Therefore, between 40 per cent and 45 per cent of a low-costs airline’s cost is fuel, so if fuel costs collapse, profits shoot upwards. This makes low-cost carriers look like a better bet for fresh capital.

And remember the airline business is capital intensive because without new planes a company can’t expand capacity.

The other big trend globally is Asian air travel. Orders of planes from China are still very strong. Typically, as a country gets richer, air travel grows two times as fast as GDP and this can be seen very clearly in global trends.

Twenty years ago, passengers were most likely to fly on an airline from Europe or North America. Over the next 20 years (according to Boeing), 62 per cent of air traffic will be from outside North America and Europe. Emerging markets will grow faster than established markets.

Regions growing above trend are Asia Pacific (6.3 per cent), Middle East (6.4 per cent), and Latin America (6.2 per cent), while European (3.9 per cent) and North American markets (2.9 per cent) will be below trend.

So where does this leave Aer Lingus?

It doesn’t want to be a Ryanair-lite and it can hardly have an Asian strategy. In addition, the airline industry is going through a massive growth spurt. So standing still is not an option.

Consider this global change. Today, there are nearly 21,000 jet airplanes commercially operated in the world. The world’s largest fleets are in the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany. Over the next 20 years, the world’s fleet will grow at an average rate of 3.6per cent annually. This means that more than 36,700 new planes will be built.

Aer Lingus needs to get its hands on some of this new capacity. Firstly it needs the routes of another big partner to generate more business into Ireland and it needs the balance sheet of a bigger partner to expand.

Wouldn’t a tie-up with a bigger player that could open up all sorts of American cities like Dallas, Miami, San Diego and Denver to Irish tourism make sense? They are well served by BA and Aer Lingus is going to piggyback on those networks.

Why would Aer Lingus seek a partnership with the likes of KLM or Lufthansa when BA is the obvious partner for Aer Lingus.

Don’t get me wrong: I love flying Aer Lingus and I get a real feeling of coming home when I fly back to the country on Aer Lingus.

For years, Aer Lingus was, in my head anyway, synonymous with home. It still is, but given what is happening to the global airline business, it is hard to see the future for the company without the significant balance sheet, access to cash and access to routes of another bigger carrier. That is just the way the airline business is going.

The best way to safeguard Aer Lingus was to sell it.


  1. aidanxc

    I’m not convinced. If Ryanair was able to grow despite being headquartered in Ireland then why can’t Aer Lingus? Aer Lingus has almost €600 million in cash so the price being paid by IAG is very low. Aer Lingus is one of a few former national airlines that is actually profitable so why, as they say, should we try to fix something that isn’t broken. In 7 years time when the concessions regarding job losses etc expire we will have wholesale rationalisation i.e. we’ll have another round of asset stripping and job losses a la Eircom. We shouldn’t over-estimate the value of Aer Lingus to the pin-striped boys in London. By taking over Aer Lingus they are eliminating a competitor and getting their hands of a bucketful of cash. Well done FG/Labour…another fine mess.

    • Deco

      Exactly.

      And in the interim the slots in FRA and AMS will be inaccessible for Irish travellers, who will be discouraged from using competitors to LHR as their hub for long distance travel.

      LHR will end up being Ireland’s hub, with consumers forced to endure BA.

      In other words, a reduction in competition.

      Competition is the one thing that FG fails to comprehend.

      Whether it is IW contracts, Fuel contracts, or IBRC company sales.

  2. patricia03

    I really don’t know why I don’t like this argument but I don’t. It reminds me of the argument that it doesn’t matter who you sell your land to because the land can’t go away. We all know how bad that argument that was and how bad it was for the welfare of every country that espoused it.

  3. StephenKenny

    ” it is hard to see the future for the company without the significant balance sheet,”
    Surely, the answer is simple: just as they’ve done with the banks, the government should enable them to rebuild their balance sheet?

  4. aidanxc

    The more I think about this the worse it seems. One should consider the “cui bono” scenario – who benefits from this deal? Let’s see.

    1. The government – they want cash so they can “buy” the next election by giving pay rises etc to curry favour with parts of the electorate. (David, even you would agree with doing that)

    2. The leadership, unions and other shareholders of Aer Lingus. Again, mostly, Insiders, so of limited benefit to Irish tax payers – do we really need more fat cats??

    3. IAG / British Airways / Ryanair as there will be one less competitor and so they will have more opportunity to gouge passengers (not good for us as individuals and not good for our economy)

    4. Passengers – will they benefit? Will there be more connectivity out of Ireland? Better choice, lower fares? Why would BA establish connections out of Ireland (via Aer Lingus)? Surely if these routes were viable Aer Lingus would already be flying them? Studies show that airline mergers lead to fare increases so supporting this buy-out is like a turkey voting for Christmas.

    So, all in all, I think this is a very bad deal for Ireland and for people travelling to and from here. The government plans to kick the can down the road by taking the money now and letting us carry the costs in the future. In 7 years’ time Enda Kenny, Michael Noonan etc will be retired on their massive ministerial pensions. They won’t care a hoot about the legacy of their decision to flog Aer Lingus. We are being led by nose, like donkeys, by those who wish to mortgage the future of this country for the benefit of the few. Again.

    • HoChi

      ‘Connectivity’ ‘Surely if these routes were viable Aer Lingus would already be flying them?’- Regarding ‘connectivity’, a worrying amount of Irish people think that LHR is the only airport they can connect to the world (including US !) by, it’s the old ‘me Mammy went to Uncle Pat in Australia by Heathrow so that’s the only airport I can use’ !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE !, ‘connectivity’ is anywhere that makes it quick and easy to get to your destination, and LHR isn’t one of them !

      Route viability – AL did fly to DXB and LAX, but gave them up for various reasons. Now look at the business that the UAE carriers are getting to the East, and AL have services to SFO and YYZ that are doing quite well. IAG are talking about expanding East with AL again which can only be good for tourism/business to Ireland.

      I worked for Aer Lingus and there is a lot of dead wood in there that needs to be thrown out before it can turn itself into a proper profitable airline.

  5. Paschal Donohoe the sanctomonious little twerp got his 15 minutes of fame in being seen to be a ‘hard negotiator’ so as far as he was concerned the whole pathetic spectacle was worth it.

  6. Mike Lucey

    If ‘our’ €335m from the sale goes into the development of something like, Irish Fisheries retrieval / expansion, I have no problem with getting rid of Aer Lingus. But as already stated above we know this cash will be used to buy votes.

    In 2001 something similar happened in New Zealand and the Government ended up buying back the national airline after the amalgamator went belly up. You never know what in around the corner.

    A local fear here in the West when it comes to the possibility of Aer Lingus reducing flights to London is that Michael O’Leary might be tempted to ram up prices to London Gatwick but I doubt it. He knows full well that Easy Jet will do as they did in 2002 and compete on the Shannon, Cork and Knock runs if they see a margin and the margin at present must be very tight.

  7. Aer Lingus as a small airline is solvent and strong and with a reliable income that is manageable and with a good team can be successful as has been shown in its past record to date .

    Most other airlines both large and small are weaker and almost bankrupt and with larger overheads and are too big to manage and will fail .Iberia under the same flagship as British Airways is an example of too big to fail and with too many staff and overheads .

    Submitting a a national asset to a foreign sovereign will in time weaken the image and goodwill built by Aer Lingus . Only recently has the national emblem namely the shamrock been compared as a mutant weed by an Australian politician .
    How long more does it take to see Aer Lingus to mutate into a WEED ?

  8. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    I have to say I am bit biased on that: I love Aer Lingus. I love everything what they stand for, from their livery through their excellent service to the fact that the A330-200 take-off speed is higher than Ryanair’s 737.

    Aer Lingus is one of the few Irish brands that can compare favourably with any international competition (I would throw into that the best beer in the world, Murphy’s, which had been available in small bottles in the students supermarket near my college in Krakow, but it’s only available in cans here and it’s not the same; Aran jumpers; Wexford cheese I am always asked to bring, Midleton Whiskey and the writings of Edmund Burke – the latter could be a great export success (there is an Edmund Burke’s Institute in Gdansk, but no museum in Dublin!) but yous are mad and do not advertise him at all trying to impress tourist instead with a lunatic James Connolly, the only colleague of Lenin whose writings are arguably more stupid than Lenin’s gibberish:

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/lenin-spoke-english-with-an-irish-accent-say-russians-26890316.html).

    Having said that, sometimes things come to and end (“This is the end, my only friend, the end of our elaborate plans, the end of everything that stands, no safety or surprise [...] Can you picture what will be, so limitless and free
    Desperately in need of some stranger’s hand in a desperate land “).

    But why things with Aer Lingus are drawing to a close? Well, at the end of the day, as stated in the article, “it is not who owns them that determines whether they thrive or not, but how many choose to travel with them”.

    It’s been a long time since I have met someone who has travelled to or from Poland on AerLingus. It just happened that every time I was looking at the website booking a ticket for someone, Aerlingus would charge you double the price of what Ryanair would charge you except maybe Christmas when Ryanair would charge you more for a ticket to Poland than Nixon charged people for healthcare.

    True, AerLingus is a nicer experience overall (sorry, Mr. O’Leary) and they never got close the Soviet-style booking procedures of Ryanair whereby you could not even see the prices until you started booking (yes, they had that for a while – all you could see was ‘Low Prices Available’) had to go through 17 steps until you were through.

    So Aer Lingus offered a better quality service and they treated their staff better. But it was not twice as good quality, the stuff was not paid twice as much and yet their prices to Poland were twice as high.

    Someone had to give as in this case, as in every case, it is the law of demand and supply that wins.

    Will the Aer Lingus retain the Irish identity? Why, yous are still drinking Guinness (the Murphy’s traitors ;-) even though it’s not Irish. If people on this blog were consistent, they would have to abandon purchasing everything with Diageo as a part of their name…

    I am going to show you what happens when the law of supply and demand is not applied. Did you know that there is a third airline that flies from Ireland to Poland? It’s called LOT and it is the Polish national airlines. No one uses that line (even though it has the most modern fleet in Europe) because some of their tickets to Poland cost almost €1,000 ONE WAY ECONOMY CLASS (and it the past every ticket would cost that much even if booked in advance – this year I see some of them cost “only” €200 one way).

    So how does it make a profit, you would ask?

    It does not. Even with those lunar prices, they still ended with €50,000,000 loss in 2012, being an aerial counterpart of the Dublin Bus as a company which offers the worst service for the highest prices. One of LOT’s dreamliners is actually not flying at all because there is no demand for €1,000 tickets to Ireland (even though Polish ministers get 10% discount!).

    The total loss of LOT for the last 13 years was €1bn. Like Dublin Bus, LOT still needs a subsidy even though you would think that €2,000 return would get you a ticket, a meal based on Wagyu beef, a few shots of Hennessy Paradis and a prostitute – not that I would encourage you to buy any of those things (unless your name is James Hunt).

    Now, not all of LOT’s money is totally wasted – some of it goes to secret service as it would be hard otherwise to convince the parliament to vote for a budget that Poland needs in its current geopolitical situation and some of it is stolen :-)

    But Irish G2 is not involved in siphoning money from AerLingus…

    So someone has to give in. To be honest, if I had an absolute power and could AerLingus keep in Irish hands I would. But if it’s selling to foreign investors,
    going bust or going the LOT’s way, I think that there is not much choice, is there?

  9. Grzegorz Kolodziej

    Aer Lingus’s decline compared to LOT’s decline: modern fleet, excellent service and yet shrinking customer base…

    Before (aerline driven by unions, not profits):

    http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/lot-majority-stake-attracts-airline-interest-but-restructuring-and-potential-synergies-will-be-key-113580

    After (de-unionisation and bringing in more transparency):

    http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2014/04/02/lot-polish-airlines-swings-to-net-profit/

    Disclaimer: I am not claiming that privatisation is always the way to go. Depends on what one means by privatisation.

    Privatisation it’s the way if it’s done by tender and preceded by breaking down a monopoly (if there is a monopoly). In many cases of Polish privatisations there had been no calls for tender (it was privatised by bribes) and “privatised” companies had been sold to state-owned companies of other countries, retaining a monopoly position…

  10. teflondub

    Mr. McWilliams, you state (and I agree) that “The single best underwriter of Aer Lingus will be the number of passengers.” Forgive me, but I cannot find anywhere in your article any explanation of how you correlate the takeover by IAG as a means to that end. Did I miss something?

    For the life of me, I can’t make heads nor tails of this paragraph: “Aer Lingus needs to get its hands on some of this new capacity. Firstly it needs the routes of another big partner to generate more business into Ireland and it needs the balance sheet of a bigger partner to expand.”
    - Do you think Aer Lingus will not have access to sufficient aircraft in the future? Is there some new aircraft supply shortfall about to emerge for the first time in aviation history that only you know about? Or has Aer Lingus’ ability to finance fleet replacement/leasing to sustain its operations over nearly 80 years somehow disappeared?
    - So you envision IAG’s size enabling it to help Aer Lingus develop new routes it couldn’t do alone? Or is it to use its marketing codeshare agreements onto existing Aer Lingus-operated routes to provide the additional passengers needed to underwrite its long term security? EI’s 2014 short-haul load factor was 75.6% in 2014, on long-haul it was 83.7%. It has an operating margin of 4.6%, whereas European airlines typically have a 1%-2% margin. Is there a particular metric you used to determine that this performance was a cause for alarm and not sustainable in the long term?

    Have you considered whether IAG’s interest in Aer Lingus is to applaud its progress in developing its transatlantic operations and to sustain those continued operations? Or might this corporate takeover follow so many that have preceded it by seeing the dominant player swallow up the smaller player, eliminating the competition it presents to its existing transatlantic operations and reducing it to a regional feeder service to the parent company’s larger network? This seems to be a prospect you endorse in your prescription for Aer Lingus to get access to “..the routes of another big partner to generate more business”. Is that actually your position?

    Could you offer an analysis of how IAG’s history of development of Glasgow, a regional capital on the islands of comparable size to Dublin could predict its plans for how it will see operations to and from Dublin in its global network once it has the same access rights in Dublin it already enjoys in Glasgow?

    Finally, could you explain how your Irish sea-port reference is germane to the topic at hand, other than as part of some macro ideological claim of the superiority of privately run infrastructure over any public interest in transportation? Given that I think we can all agree that Ryanair can scratch whatever itch a European punter may have to spend a few bob in Dublin rather than Glasgow, how does it extend to attracting business from across the Atlantic? Giving access to new entrants is one thing. Allowing a takeover that may in fact limit competition and access to Ireland is another thing entirely.

    I look forward to your response.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Superb post.

      Plus as far as I know the pay and conditions are better than ryanair et al. If Aer lingus could be developed as you very articulately demonstrate then perhaps the seats used by record breaking numbers of emigrants out of Ireland to secure employment in other countries that pay liveable wages could be used to bring tourists here to Ireland since our best and brightest would be gainfully employed here.

      “I look forward to your response”

      Don’t hold your breadth.

      A most excellent post.

      Regards,

      Michael.

  11. All this is in play around the world and all that is talked about is domestic politics. It is like pissing on a fire to try to put it out!!

    Bill Holter!!

    Bill H:

    Did you hear about this?

    You really have to wonder how it is that so much is going on all around us yet almost nothing is being reported by the mainstream press. I know it is hard to do, but imagine yourself 20 or 30 years ago, could what is currently happening ever be “slept through” as it is today? Could markets have just snoozed it off as if nothing bad “could” happen? For example, the U.S. economy is in another recession. The 1st quarter GDP was revised to show a decline of -.7%. Do you know why the number was not worse? Because the BLS used as a very “special” assumption, a NEGATIVE inflation rate, if they used just a 1% inflation rate, GDP would have reported negative 2% plus! But wait, the funny part is this, the Fed at the same time is again bringing up tightening interest rates. Again, imagining yourself 20-30 years ago, the speculation would be “when will the Fed begin to loosen” …and here is one of your problems, the Fed CANNOT do ANYTHING to turn up the economy. The Fed has fired all its bullets and cannot loosen further. Yes they can start up another QE (the opposite of what they are taking about now) but I believe even they fear the reaction this time around. What would they do if the selling pressure increased on the announcement of another QE? Can’t happen you say? I hope you’re right! The Chinese stock market took an 11% nosedive over the last two days of the past week, did you hear about this? Is it “unimportant”? Or how about COMEX having 26 tons of gold standing for June delivery with only 11 tons currently on hand? You probably didn’t hear about this one because they will just cash “settle” (they have already begun as 2,800 contracts “disappeared” last night), nothing to see here, move along. How about David Cameron promising an “in or out” referendum pertaining to the British and the EU? Or the right wing in France demanding a similar referendum? Probably not important enough either? Or how about this list; Goldman warns “too much debt” threatens the world economy… China places artillery on disputed South Sea islands… Margin debt 50% higher than last peak… Russia backs alternative to SWIFT… 5 billion euro bank run in Greece … or just plain old Greece? Even worse than all of these pieces of “real news” that didn’t make the news, did you hear about Yemen? Or more specifically a (or several) nukes were lit up? Yes, nuke(s) went off in Yemen late last week and the press (yawn) decided it wasn’t “newsworthy”. Shifting gears just a bit, I want to bring up a topic I have not seen anyone even talk about. Do you remember last November when Congress, the Senate in particular was “shaken up”? “We” (the American people) threw the bums out! I can remember it vividly, Congress would now be able to hamstring a president running roughshod over the Constitution. I thought it might be a glimmer of hope …I thought WRONG! Has anything been done to reverse or retard Obamacare? The answer of course is no, nothing. I ask you this, what exactly did we get for our votes to evict the “bums”?… …How about Loretta Lynch! How did she get confirmed as Attorney General? As Ted Cruz said, “she looked Senators in the eye and told us she intends to disregard the law” http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/24/exclusive-ted-cruz-loretta-lynch-was-confirmed-because-gop-establishment-wanted-her-to-be/ . I ask, was there even a purpose to the last election? Or better yet, once the financial system comes down and social unrest unleashes martial law, was that our LAST election? I am not kidding here folks, the rule of law is gone in the U.S., our financial system is a totally rigged sham and people believe they are “wealthy”… are they really ? W e have zero press left to hold anyone’s feet to the fire or accountable for anything. More people now “take” than “pay” and we are so broke as a nation we can’t even afford to pay attention! What could possibly go wrong? The worst thing of all is if you were to bring up even one of the above “cluster bombs” at a summer BBQ, it is YOU who are the nutcase! Our Forefathers are in tears. Regards, Bill Holter
    Holter-Sinclair collaboration

  12. DB4545

    I think you’re wrong on this issue David. The airline is not the key issue here, access to the Heathrow slots is. Take those slots off the table and then see what offer IAG makes in that scenario. I’m not a fan of Aer Lingus. I remember the absolute cheek of them robbing emigrants blind(and I was one) charging £200 sterling on the Dublin/London route TWENTY years ago. Ryanair charges 40 Euro return(plus 30-40 Euro ground transport costs to central London) to fly in Gatwick/Luton/Stansted in today’s money. Moving swiftly on.

    Those slots are our pipeline into London which is a global financial centre. The number of those slots are finite given the physical restrictions of Heathrow. It doesn’t matter which airline uses them PROVIDED they’re used to connect IRISH airports to Heathrow. It’s a finite pipeline into a global centre of finance and a major European destination for tourists for f**ks sake.

    Roll on a few years and IAG will argue that those slots are needed for 800/1000 passenger aircraft flying to Heathrow from Dubai/Asia/USA/Australia/Latin America. Imagine you’re running an airline with valuable slots at Heathrow. The choice is a Boeing 737 carrying 215 passengers low cost short haul from Dublin or an Airbus A380 long haul carrying 853 business class passengers to Dubai. It’s a fu**ing no-brainer even for the imbecile who “negotiated” this “deal” for Irish taxpayers.

    If you want to see the real value of those slots offer them in a stand alone deal to Emirates,Etihad,Gulf or any Asian carrier of your choosing. This is the Harcourt street line all over again. Tear up the tracks and sell the line and then find you need it 10 years later.Short sighted stupidity. Why not open up Dublin Airport further to Etihad/Gulf/Emirates for long haul? It could provide a valuable link for US immigration clearance for Dubai and for major European cities and actually make use of Dublin’s 30 million passenger capacity. Then LEASE access to the Heathrow slots to the high bidder. It doesn’t matter which airline gets those slots once the Irish taxpayer is getting a slice of the action. If someone can make those slots work as 300/500 passenger short haul business trips from Dublin to Heathrow that has to be a better deal for the Irish taxpayer.

    This has all the hallmarks of Guinness Peat Aviation with the same results. A bad deal for taxpayers and key decisions makers either on the board of IAG as non-execs or minor shareholders of IAG at some point down the line. If Michael O’Leary was negotiating this deal Willie Walsh would be in one room and the Gulf/Chinese players would be in the other one. Why do we let people who are incompetent teachers/solicitors negotiate with experienced business giants? There can be only one loser. The Irish taxpayer. It’s the slots stupid the rest isn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.

    DB

  13. DB4545

    Here’s the pitch. In 2022 Ms. Michelle O Li Ri from Shanghai flies Business /Tourist class from Dubai to Dublin Terminal 1. She uses the terminal facilities to shower/have a meal/shop/business meeting. She connects for her business class flight to London/New York/Frankfurt etc. Alternatively she walks to Terminal 2 and connects to a range of low cost airlines connecting to most locations in Europe. There are 350 million Chinese middle class with growing spending power. Look what happens when they’re turned loose in BT. We turn Dublin Airport into a shopping mall/convention centre with an airport attached..like Dubai. Only more fun. Think what that can do for our economy. Or we tear up an extremely valuable pipeline and become another regional airport. A Manchester or Liverpool for AIG. The choice is yours.

    DB

  14. survivalist

    It’s not at all surprising to see that the goal of privatization is presented as the best way to go in the paper addressing the business community.

    If Aer Lingus is presently successful and government owned great lets build on that and appropriate the resources.

    If or when it becomes privatized then holding or promoting false beliefs that the company will have any motive other than maximizing profit is the result of and the task of good propaganda.

    Once it is privatized it is accountable to no one.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      And who exactly is Dublin Bus accountable to with their pricing 5 times over Western European standards, timetables written by a drunk poet, drivers shutting the doors in the front of running passengers (not drivers would do it and some of them are exceptionally friendly, but I NEVER seen that being done at Finnegans) and invisible controllers?
      If paying people €800 for that kind of shitty service is not maximazing profit (of greedy unions, not of the company) then I do not what is

  15. Deco

    I doubt that Dublin will remain in the hub business, like today, if BA takeover Aer Lingus. Therefore I am very sceptical.

    BA do have choices to make with regards to LHR slots. And BA’s biggest concerns are it’s ability to compete with
    KLM-Air France
    Lufthansa
    Middle Eastern long haul airlines.

    Our idiot politicians are concerned with LHR slots.

    Actually, for Irish air flyers, connectivity to Amsterdam-Schiphol, Paris CdG, and Frankfurt are of critical importance because they enable us to access cheaper long distance connections. Likewise Aer Lingus on terminal 5 in JFK, is a massive advantage.

    I don’t rate Pascal O’Donoghue. He is a muppet. It is highly likely that for the duration of the next Dail, he will be a Senator (thanks to his profile in FG, and their local authority seats). Joe Costello is another waste of space, lying in wait of pensions.

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