James Moore: High-flying Aer Lingus attracts Arab admirers

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The Independent Online

Outlook Another crikey! It isn't just Paddy Power and Ryanair that are flying the Irish tricolour for the Emerald Isle's businesses.

How about Aer Lingus. It's facing rising costs, an economy still on the critical list and the ever-present problem of fuel prices. But it is making money, and more than expected too.

It probably doesn't hurt when your main rival (the aforementioned Ryanair) is not universally loved.

Which means that Aer Lingus' "Ryanair Lite" short-haul offering (no, no, no, says a spokesman, who insists Lingus' model is different without explaining how) should have a ready supply of customers.

Apparently Aer Lingus is now a target for various Gulf airlines. These have gone in for the "romance of flight", with passenger pampering and tlc as befits their status as extensions of their countries' brands.

It will be fascinating to see how Aer Lingus fits in with that.