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Ryanair approach key to government decision on Aer Lingus - Deputy PM

An Aer Lingus plane lands at Dublin airport January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair's approach to IAG's (ICAG.L) bid for Aer Lingus (AERL.I) will be very significant in whether the government decides to sell its stake in the former flag carrier, Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton was quoted as saying on Monday.

International Consolidated Airlines Group's (IAG) proposed 1.36 billion euro (986 million pounds) bid was recommended by Aer Lingus in January but is conditional on the support of the airline's two main shareholders, rival Ryanair and the Irish state.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that the government-appointed group examining the bid will recommend a sale of the state's 25 percent stake, but it will only be presented to cabinet if Ryanair first signals its intention to sell.

"It is not just the Government which is involved in this. There is a significant stake held by Ryanair and how they approach that will be very significant in any decision being made," Burton was quoted as saying in the Irish Independent.

"Clearly, there are ongoing issues in relation to Ryanair and the approach that they take."

Ryanair, which has said little publicly about the sale, asked in March for details of IAG's plans for Aer Lingus, including possible remedies to competition concerns, before it decides whether to accept the proposed offer for its 30 percent stake.

A spokesman for Ryanair said on Sunday that its board will consider any offer "if and when an offer is made".

The transport minister was awaiting the final report from the group of government officials appointed to assess the proposal and expected to bring the matter to a conclusion in the coming weeks, a spokeswoman said.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Louise Heavens)

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