The British Isles are abuzz today with Ryanair’s announcement that they want to buy Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline.
You may know Ryanair as the largest low cost carrier in Europe. They’re famous for their extremely low fares (sometimes, free) and their crazy PR stunts. Their CEO, Michael O’Leary, has been a very controversial figure and never fails to surprise people. Somehow, today’s announcement tops anything he’s done before.
He’s always been critical of Aer Lingus in the past, but when the government decided to sell just under 75% of the airline this week, he found his chance to change things. Ryanair has already bought 16% of the airline and they are making a very fair bid for the rest. The government says they won’t sell their remaining 25.1% stake, but who knows for sure.
What does this mean? Well, it could mean the low fare Ryanair model would debut over the Atlantic.
Aer Lingus currently flies to New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles from Ireland. O’Leary says the airline would be run separately, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t try to use some of their tactics for transatlantic flights including really low fares and extra charges for just about everything. This could get interesting.