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EU 'plans to block Ryanair acquisition'

Ryanair has reacted angrily to the leaked news that the European Commission plans to blocks its offer for Aer Lingus.

After the news emerged that the European Commissions will not be allowing the low-cost airline take over Aer Lingus, Ryanair's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, called a press conference in Paris.

At the meeting, Mr O'Leary said that he thought the EU's move was unfair and potentially illegal.

"We call on the Commission to explain how it can rubber stamp mergers between larger airlines such as Air France/KLM, Lufthansa/Swiss and Lufthansa/Austrian, when these airlines have bigger positions at their home airports than the combined Ryanair/Aer Lingus share at Dublin Airport," Mr O'Leary demanded.

He added that stopping the merger between the two airlines would mean passengers would have to pay high fares on Aer Lingus routes.

"Aer Lingus fares last year were more than twice those of Ryanair, and rising. Aer Lingus passengers continue to suffer high fuel surcharges whereas Ryanair guarantees no fuel surcharges," Mr O'Leary explained.

"With this decision, Aer Lingus' high fares and fuel surcharges will continue."

Currently Ryanair owns 25 per cent of Aer Lingus, while the Irish government and various trade unions control the rest of the airline's shares.

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