Ryanair is holding discussions with the European Commission about pulling Aer Lingus from a series of routes from Dublin if it is permitted to take over the airline.

This would allow a number of major European airlines, including British Airways and Virgin, to operate from routes vacated in the airport.

The proposal is being put to the EU as a means of addressing concerns that a takeover of Aer Lingus would result in Ryanair gaining an excessive market share on Dublin routes.

It is understood that contact has already been made with several large European airlines.

The decision to prohibit Ryanair from taking over Aer Lingus in 2006 concluded that a takeover could "create a monopoly or a dominant position" on 35 routes operated by both parties.

The Commission investigated Ryanair’s proposed remedies and found them to be "inadequate to remove competition concerns".

Ryanair has not commented on the matter.