Ryanair agrees possible route transfer with Flybe

LONDON Tue Feb 5, 2013 7:33am GMT

Ryanair planes are seen parked at Girona airport, September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Ryanair planes are seen parked at Girona airport, September 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

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LONDON (Reuters) - Ryanair (RYA.I) has agreed the possibility of transferring some of its routes and aircraft to smaller operator Flybe (FLYB.L) in order to win the European Commission's approval for its Aer Lingus (AERL.I) bid.

Flybe said on Tuesday, in response to press speculation, that Ryanair had agreed in principle to create a new company, into which business assets, including cash of 100 million euros (86.4 million pounds), would be transferred and which Flybe would then acquire.

Reuters reported on Monday that Ryanair had offered Flybe 100 million euros to take some Aer Lingus routes off its hands as the European Commission prepares to decide on the budget carrier's 694 million euro offer for the Irish airline.

Ryanair, Europe's leading low-cost carrier, is making its third takeover attempt of Aer Lingus and needs to make concessions that would retain competition in air transport to and from Ireland.

Flybe is a low-cost regional airline group operating over 180 routes to 65 European airports.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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