By Jonathan Davies

Virgin Atlantic is urging competition regulators to take a "hard look" at IAG's proposed takeover of Irish airline Aer Lingus.

Virgin Atlantic boss Craig Kreeger said he expects the €1.4 billion to go ahead, but stressed that he wants fares to be competitive.

IAG, which owns British Airways, is one of Virgin Atlantic's biggest rivals. The takeover will increase IAG's runway slots at Heathrow airport, and it is thought will boost its transatlantic business.

“We expect that the transaction will ultimately reach conclusion, but we'd certainly love to see a hard look at what kind of remedies might be appropriate to allow competitive connectivity to Ireland to continue to exist,” said Mr Kreeger.

“We just like to see customers have competitive alternatives, and we'd like to be a part of that."

The Irish government and Etihad Airways have agreed to sell their respective 25% and 5% stakes to the British Airways owner. But Ryanair, which owns just under 30% of Aer Lingus, is yet to give a decision.