Aer Lingus is confident the European regulators will once again reject the Ryanair takeover attempt. The carrier plans to source additional aircraft and flight crew to support the Virgin Atlantic deal. It currently operates 36 Airbus narrowbodies, and the fleet will increase by about 9% as a result of the new contract. The airline was scheduled to receive two new Airbus A319s next year and return two Airbus A320s to lessors, but these aircraft now will be retained if the agreement with Virgin Atlantic is firmed up.
The airline believes also that the combination of its own operations at Heathrow with the Virgin Atlantic wet-lease operations will result in additional efficiencies and savings due to economies of scale at the airport. Some analysts estimate that this agreement could boost earnings-per-share forecasts for Aer Lingus by about 5%.