THE OWNER OF Aer Lingus and British Airways is mulling a potential takeover of low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle after building up a minority holding.
London-listed International Airlines Group (IAG) revealed the news in a brief statement in which it noted press speculation over a possible bid.
“IAG considers Norwegian to be an attractive investment and has acquired a 4.61% ownership position in the airline,” it said.
“The minority investment is intended to establish a position from which to initiate discussions with Norwegian, including the possibility of a full offer for Norwegian.
“IAG confirms that no such discussions have taken place to date, that it has taken no decision to make an offer at this time and that there is no certainty that any such decision will be made.”
A further announcement on the matter would be made if appropriate, it added.
Norwegian Air Shuttle – which operates transatlantic flights from Ireland through the Dublin-based subsidiary, Norwegian Air International – has recorded mounting losses in recent times and last week said it would suspend winter services from Cork and Shannon airports to Boston-Providence.
In February, it reported a net loss of 299 million Norwegian kroner (€30 million) for 2017, which chief executive Bjørn Kjos described as unsatisfying.
In an attempt to take on upstart Norwegian Air in the transatlantic market, IAG launched low-cost, long-haul airline Level last year. It has also invested further in expanding Aer Lingus’s long-haul destinations, including a Dublin-Philadelphia route that launched last month.
Additional reporting by Conor McMahon