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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Ryanair 'to cut' Aer Lingus jobs
Ryanair and Aer Lingus planes
Aer Lingus bosses and unions oppose Ryanair's takeover bid
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said there will be significant job cuts at rival carrier Aer Lingus if the takeover bid for the group succeeds.

Mr O'Leary, quoted by Reuters news agency, said the cuts would be part of plans to reduce costs at Aer Lingus.

Ryanair issued its offer document on Friday, saying that Aer Lingus shares were likely to fall sharply if its bid was rebuffed.

Ryanair bid 1.5bn euro (1bn; $1.9bn) for Aer Lingus on 5 October.

'Small regional airline'

Aer Lingus management and unions have rejected the bid and the Irish government, its largest investor with a 28% stake, has said it will not sell its shares.

Ryanair's offer document said that the average member of the Aer Lingus employee share ownership scheme would earn 60,000 euros, which would be paid tax-free.

The document went on to say that Ryanair's strategy would be to keep Aer Lingus independent and "expand, enhance and upgrade" its operations.

Without a deal, Ryanair said that Aer Lingus would remain a "small, regional airline" and would be "at the mercy" of its government and workforce shareholders, who had exercised "de facto control" over the airline in recent years.

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