British Airways owner IAG is relaxed about the time it is taking Aer Lingus shareholders to decide whether to back a takeover deal, its chief executive Willie Walsh said today.

International Consolidated Airlines Group's proposed €1.36bn bid was recommended by the Aer Lingus board in January but is conditional on the support of its two main shareholders, Ryanair and the Government.

Speaking at a Chartered Accountants Leinster Society lunch in Dublin today, Mr Walsh has said he was "in no hurry" to see a resolution to the bid.

He said he was "perfectly relaxed" about the time it was taking and the process was not putting any pressure on him or the airline group itself.

"If it was a distraction to the business I clearly would be concerned but it's not distracting me from what we have to do," he said. "I have a small team of people dedicated to it and they remain on call, so we'll wait and see what happens."

Mr Walsh also said the board of IAG was very happy to stick to the process and the company has consistently stated that taking over Aer Lingus was a deal they would like to do.

He said that the economic conditions in Ireland were not a major factor in IAG's decision to make a bid for Aer Lingus, however the country's performance in recent years had been "very encouraging".

"To give credit to Aer Lingus they've done a very, very good job in a difficult economic environment, so it demonstrates that it's a very well-run airline," he said.

Mr Walsh also described the US as a "very encouraging market" which represented a great opportunity for IAG and Aer Lingus, especially because the Irish carrier had the unique advantage of customs pre-clearance at Dublin and Shannon airports.