DUBLIN, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Aer Lingus Board of Directors today recommended to the Irish government that Aer Lingus enter an alliance with American Airlines and British Airways, with a commitment that these airlines sponsor Aer Lingus for membership in the oneworld alliance group. In addition to American and British Airways, oneworld includes Canadian Airlines, Qantas and Cathay Pacific, with Finnair and Iberia Airlines poised to join. The Government will review the recommendation and, if accepted, will authorize Aer Lingus to proceed with the strategic alliance. Aer Lingus Group Chairman Bernie Cahill described this recommendation as the one which the Board believes "will offer the best possible forward direction for all the stakeholders in Aer Lingus." The airline is owned 95 percent by the Irish government and 5 percent by Aer Lingus employees. Group Chief Executive Gary Cullen said that membership in the oneworld alliance would also deliver significant benefits to Aer Lingus customers and the Irish economy as a whole through the provision of significantly improved access. "In addition to the operational benefits brought by the successful completion of this partnership, membership in oneworld will provide enhanced travel options for customers and a seamless service for a growing customer base," Cullen said. Speaking from Aer Lingus headquarters in the U.S., Jack Foley, Executive Vice President-North America, said the recommendation "is an important part of Aer Lingus' strategic plan for growth. In North America alone, we have experienced a 70 percent increase in capacity since 1995, including the opening of three more gateways and increases in services throughout our network. "Linking the Aer Lingus brand with two such globally recognized leaders as American Airlines and British Airways validates our recent growth strategy," Foley added. Pending approval of the recommendation, Aer Lingus will work with American Airlines and British Airways to formalize alliance implementation. In all, Aer Lingus offers more than 200 flights daily in the U.S., Ireland, the U.K. and continental Europe. The carrier's North American headquarters is located at 538 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, NY 11747.
SOURCE Aer Lingus