Turkish Airlines has emerged as a potential bidder for Aer Lingus just days after rival Ryanair made a revised takeover offer.

Turkey’s national airline is assessing Ireland’s former flag carrier and is “very interested,” according to sources.

Turkish Airlines, which could only hold a 49% stake in Aer Lingus because it is based outside the European Union, could buy the government’s stake or form a partnership with another airline, it is claimed.

It is one of several airlines looking at Aer Lingus. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, which already owns a 3% stake, has long been tipped as a possible bidder for the Irish government’s 25% stake.

Both Turkish Airlines and Etihad view Dublin as a potential hub through which passengers could be routed to the Far East and beyond, according to a report in Ireland’s Sunday Business Post.

Ryanair, which is the largest shareholder in Aer Lingus, launched a third bid to take over its rival a week ago with an offer worth €694 million. This was rejected by Aer Lingus.

The surprise move by Ryanair also led to speculation that it was a plot to flush out prospective buyers for Ryanair’s own 29% stake in Aer Lingus.