Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has been trying to take over Irish airline Aer Lingus since 2006. And on Tuesday, regulators are meeting to discuss a new takeover bid Ryanair offered a week ago.
If O'Leary gets his way, The Telegraph reports, Ryanair could be America-bound. Gert Zonneveld, of the investment bank Panmure Gordon, told the paper that a merger would allow O'Leary to "experiment" with cheap transatlantic flights, which he has discussed with the press since 2010.
The often-outspoken Ryanair head has hinted that he would love to "spark a revolution" in transatlantic travel by offering seats for as little as $13, according to The Telegraph. As Aer Lingus already flies to such hubs as Boston, New York and Chicago, Ryanair could continue flying to those cities if the takeover is confirmed.
The offer, O'Leary told the Associated Press last week, "represents a significant opportunity to combine Aer Lingus with Ryanair, to form one strong Irish airline group capable of competing with Europe's other major airline groups led by Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa."
Yet a U.K. transportation spokesperson said, "The existence of Ryanair and Aer Lingus as separate competing entities has transformed our tourism and business connectivity. Any material change to the separate status of these airlines would inevitably lead to reduced competition, increased fares and less choice," the Press Association reports.
If O'Leary brought his company across the pond, Americans could come face to face with some of the more interesting realities in low-cost flying. In the past few years, O'Leary has proposed removing toilets on planes to make room for more seats, insisted that the in-flight magazine be printed on thinner paper (it would also double as an in-flight menu) and asked flight attendants to mind their weight to help with fuel costs, but all in the name of the annual Ryanair calendar (see below).
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