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Thu, Oct 12, 2006

The Race Is On For Control Of Aer Lingus

Pilots Purchase 1.6-Percent Stake In Carrier

It appears pilots at Ireland's Aer Lingus either really don't want Ryanair to buy their airline... or they want to make sure the rival low-cost carrier pays through the teeth for it.

After word got out last week Ryanair had submitted a bid to purchase the former state-owned carrier, Aer Lingus pilots reportedly raided their retirement piggy bank... and gobbled up over $30 million worth of stock. That's good enough for a 1.6-percent stake in the airline.

As Aero-News reported, RyanAir offered over $3.50 per share in its takeover bid last week. The pilots purchased their 8.5-million shares at $3.85 each... upping the minimum price Ryanair must now pay to the same amount.

Currently, Aer Lingus employees and the Irish government hold 44-percent of the company between them. The government has repeatedly stated it will not buy anymore Aer Lingus shares in the market, in order to foster increased competition.

In related news, pilots at RyanAir sought help from the Irish government this week in forcing the airline to raise their pay to that enjoyed by Aer Lingus pilots. Aer Lingus pilots are unionized... RyanAir's are not.

FMI: www.flyaerlingus.com, www.ryanair.com

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