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January 31: Government should not cash in its Aer Lingus chips
When the Government led by Bertie Ahern approved the flotation of Aer Lingus almost nine years ago, one of the principal reasons it retained a 25.1% stake in the airline was to protect its valuable landing slots at Heathrow, 24 in total. Now, the moment is at hand. The Aer Lingus board has approved a sale of the company to IAG, but the stake owned by the State was retained in 2006 for good reasons. And if the present Government cannot secure long-term guarantees over the future of the Heathrow slots, it should not cash in its chips.
 
 

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