The Irish government has decided to back British Airways owner International Airlines Group's proposed €1.4bn (£990m, $1.52bn) takeover offer for Aer Lingus.
Paschal Donohoe, Ireland's minister for transport, said that, following detailed discussions with IAG - which also owns Spanish carrier Iberia - the group had provided sufficient information and "certain commitments" in relation to its bid.
Speaking at a Dublin press conference, Donohoe said the takeover was the "best way for securing Aer Lingus's future in an increasingly competitive airline market". It would also be the "best means of securing and enhancing Ireland's connectivity with the rest of the world, and maintaining a vibrant and competitive air transport industry in Ireland".
In its statement, IAG said the deal "is expected to provide substantial benefits to both IAG and Aer Lingus customers through an enhanced network, particularly to North America, using Dublin as a natural gateway hub for transatlantic routes".
It added: "IAG has agreed the basis for legally binding commitments with the government of Ireland which ensure that Aer Lingus will continue to hold its existing slots at London Heathrow.
"Aer Lingus will operate all of its scheduled international air transport passenger services under the Aer Lingus brand, and maintain Aer Lingus as its registered name and its head office and place of incorporation in the Republic of Ireland, in each case unless otherwise agreed by the Minister for Finance of Ireland."
Mr Donohoe noted that the deal would be in the best interests of consumers and the wider tourism industry here, while he said IAG had also confirmed that employee's rights would be protected.