Aer Lingus Chief Executive Christoph Mueller has reiterated the Aer Lingus board's recommendation that shareholders reject the Ryanair bid for the former state airline.

In an update to staff, he outlined the history of Ryanair's third bid for the airline launched last summer.

It is currently the subject of a European Commission investigation into the potential competition implications.

Mr Mueller confirmed that the company has received a copy of the Ryanair proposals from the commission, which is now seeking feedback from Aer Lingus and other participants in the market as part of what is known as "market testing".

He noted that Ryanair has submitted what is referred to as a "remedy package" to the European Commission for consideration.

The board and management have been actively engaged in ongoing consultation with the key parties conducting the investigation, he said.

Mr Mueller said that the European Commission investigation is due to be completed by 27 February, though that deadline could be extended.

He added that he is extremely aware of the concern that ongoing speculation like this causes to staff.

He said that the European Commission and the Irish Takeover Panel impose strict confidentiality regulations on the process, so management is restricted in what it can say.

However, he assured staff that he will communicate directly with them when there is "material information" which they can share.