Aer Lingus has lost its High Court case to prevent Ryanair issuing another takeover bid for it until February of next year.

Aer Lingus, which says it has spent €40m defending Ryanair's unsuccessful bids, challenged a May 2013 ruling by the Irish Takeover Panel that meant Ryanair had only to wait 12 months after its August 2012 bid before it could make another bid next month.

Aer Lingus said it is it was being hampered in its commercial activities due to restrictions imposed by such takeover attempts.

It asked the court to rule no such bid could be launched before February 2014, which would be 12 months after the European Commission's decision blocking the last Ryanair bid was made.

The action arose from Ryanair's third bid in July 2012 to win control of Aer Lingus.

That offer was blocked last February by the European Commission, which said the proposed merger would harm consumers by creating a dominant company on 46 routes where both airlines are competing.

The ITP and Ryanair opposed the Aer Lingus' application for leave to bring a High Court judicial review over the matter.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan ruled today Aer Lingus had not established substantial grounds for judicial review because it had not shown that a reading of the takeover rules by the ITP was "wrong or even questionable".

He refused leave to challenge the ITP's ruling.