Flag carrier denies claim on Irish firm

Flag carrier denies claim on Irish firm

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish national carrier Turkish Airlines may be a potential bidder for Aer Lingus, just days after rival Irish airline Ryanair made a surprise buyout bid, according to a report in the Sunday Business Post.
Turkish Airlines is assessing Ireland’s 75-year-old former flag carrier and is “very interested,” according to sources.

However, Turkish Airlines said in a written statement yesterday that the board had not yet made any decisions regarding the acquisition of Aer Lingus, according to the Anatolia news agency. Aer Lingus has declined to comment on the report.

Turkish Airlines is one of several international airlines looking at Aer Lingus, according to the report. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, which already owns a 3 percent stake, has long been cited in the media as a possible bidder for the government’s 25 percent stake.

Turkish Airlines, which could only hold a 49 percent stake in Aer Lingus because it is based outside the European Union, could buy the government’s stake or form a partnership with another airline, said the sources.

Both Turkish Airlines and Etihad view Dublin as a potential hub through which passengers could be routed to the Far East and beyond, according to the report.

Ryanair, which is the largest shareholder in Aer Lingus, launched its third bid to take over its rival last Tuesday, saying it would offer 1.30 euros per share to secure at least 50 percent of the carrier.The bid, which values Aer Lingus at 694 million euros ($880 million), would be subject to the approval of the European Commission, which in 2007 blocked an earlier bid by Ryanair for Aer Lingus on competition grounds.

Turkish Airlines recently pulled out of talks with Poland’s LOT to form a possible tie-up.

Parliamentary question

Meanwhile, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Umut Oran has claimed that Turkish Airlines failed to transfer $2.9 million from Iraq when the former Iraqi currency was replaced by the New Iraqi Dinar in February 2004. The value of the airline’s sum of money in former Iraqi currency plunged to $626 in the New Iraqi Dinar, he said in a press release.

Oran has lodged a parliamentary question with the Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek to clarify the situation.

Turkish Airlines has not been able to transfer a $12 million sum of money from Syria due to political unrest, Chairman Hamdi Topçu announced June 6.