A British court has suspended a competition probe into Ryanair's minority stake in Irish rival Aer Lingus to allow an appeal against the investigation, Ryanair said on Friday.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) last year launched a probe into whether Ryanair's near 29.8 percent holding in Aer Lingus gave it the power to influence the former state carrier's commercial policy and hampered competition.

Ryanair challenged the OFT move, saying it no longer had jurisdiction over the deal, which was closed in 2006.

The Court of Appeal on Thursday ordered a stay of the OFT probe until after a full hearing on the case scheduled for mid-2012, Ryanair said in a statement. Court officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ryanair mounted a public takeover for all of Aer Lingus in October 2006, but the European Commission investigated the bid and decided to prohibit it in June 2007.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)