JetBlue A320. By Rob Finlayson

JetBlue Airways (B6) has denied rumors in the Irish press that it is interested in acquiring the Irish government’s 25% stake in Aer Lingus (EI).

“We have no interest or intention in purchasing the Irish government's stake in Aer Lingus,” B6 said in an emailed statement to Reuters. Irish media reported last week that B6 had spoken to the management of the Irish airline about the possible purchase. 

The Irish government plans to sell its 25% shareholding in EI as part of a €3 billion ($3.92 billion) disposal program of state assets per a bailout agreement with its main lenders—the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. EI executives have voiced concern that the sale of the government stake might put its business model at risk (ATW Daily News, March 5).

The carrier left oneworld in 2007 and has since extended its network through codeshares with airlines across all three alliances: Air France KLM/SkyTeam, British Airways/oneworld and United Airlines/Star Alliance. It has had a sales agreement with B6 since 2008.