Aer Lingus could lose all but four of its valuable landing slots at Heathrow airport if Ryanair succeeds in its bid for Aer Lingus, reports say today.

The Dublin to Heathrow route is one of the busiest airline routes in Europe and the slots are worth about €400m.

As part of its takeover bid, Ryanair has suggested it sells 20 of the 24 landing slots to British Airways, according to a report in today's Irish Independent.

But, even if the EU does approve the takeover, Ryanair would still have to convince Aer Lingus shareholders and staff that it is in their best interests.

Ryanair, which owns 29.8% of Aer Lingus, is trying to secure regulatory approval for its third takeover bid.