The former CEO of Aer Lingus, Willie Walsh, has welcomed the Government's decision to sell a majority stakehold in the state-owned airline.

Mr Walsh said Aer Lingus needs greater certainty around access to capital if it is to develop and to capitalise on the work done in recent years.

He was speaking in Cork, where he was addressing the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland's National Business Forum.

Mr Walsh, who is now the chief executive designate of British Airways, also questioned the Government's decision to retain at least 25% of the equity.

He said he thought that this will do little to encourage interest in the sale or maximize the value of it to Aer Lingus, but he did think it was a step in the right direction and should be welcomed.