Aer Lingus denies bankruptcy rumour

AER Lingus chairman, Colm Barrington, has refuted claims made by rival Ryanair that his airline is facing bankruptcy within 18 months. He said the rumours were “total rubbish”.

The claims came about after Ryanair attempted a hostile takeover of Aer Lingus last year, a move Aer Lingus defended by allegedly giving overly optimistic forecasts for a profit in 2009. After Ryanair withdrew its bid, Aer Lingus then reversed its earlier forecasts and said that its operating loss would increase this year.

“Talking about Aer Lingus being out of money, being bankrupt in 18 months – total, total rubbish,” Barrington said in a radio interview. He said that his carrier had €1.2 billion in the bank, which even after deducting its €600 million debt still leaves it with €600 million.

“We’re not actually eating up all those cash reserves. Michael O’Leary might like to say that, but that’s actually not true," he added.

He went on to say that Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, who made the claims, “speaks a lot of self-centred rubbish”.

Ryanair already owns 30 per cent of the national carrier. The Irish government dismissed O’Leary’s takeover offer as “undervaluing the airline” and said that a successful takeover by Ryanair would have a “significant negative impact” on competition in the industry.

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