Stark warning from Aer Lingus on Shannon future

Stark warning from Aer Lingus on Shannon future

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

Aer Lingus has issued a stark warning on the future of its Shannon operation telling workers there’s no sign of any meaningful resumption of operations out of either Cork or Shannon airports.

In a communication from Aer Lingus CEO Seán Doyle to airline workers at Shannon, the Irish government has been blamed for  failing to progress the implementation of the recommendations made by the Aviation Recovery Taskforce that it appointed.

Earlier today, Aer Lingus’ parent company IAG issued a statement confirming pre-tax losses of €4.2 billion for the first half of the year. There has been speculation in recent weeks that IAG has been looking to jettison Aer Lingus and concentrate efforts on saving Iberia, another of the group’s airlines.

Blaming stakeholders in Ireland for not appreciating the scale of the crisis facing the aviation sector, Aer Lingus has told staff that there will be voluntary and, if necessary, compulsory redundancies.

The communication from Aer Lingus to staff reads:

Aer Lingus Financial results and Covid 19 recovery plan. A transcript from Sean Doyle on Friday 31st July, 2020.

Aer Lingus has posted the biggest quarterly loss in its history.

Ireland has adopted a unique position in Europe in applying the most restrictive policies on the green list, travel advisories and quarantine. The Irish government has also failed to progress the implementation of the recommendations made by the Aviation Recovery Taskforce that it appointed.

As such, Ireland is in the unfortunate position of having the most restrictive travel policies in Europe and secondly done the least in Europe to support it’s aviation sector. As you are aware, we have also been unable to make progress on reaching agreement with unions representing both cabin crew and ground operations staff. The proposed implementation of very reasonable and industry standard work practices has been rejected by the unions and their members.

These practices are critical to enable Aer Lingus to be efficient and capable of competing efficiently in the future. Essentially, there has been a failure in Ireland amongst a number of key stakeholders to understand or appreciate the scale and depth of this crisis in the aviation sector. These factors mean that Aer Lingus will have to take further steps to address the crisis, This means that we are facing into an even more challenging period with significant redundancies required across the business.

There will be severe constraints on what can be afforded by the company in implementing any voluntary redundancy schemes. The job losses will be implemented on a voluntary basis but on a compulsory basis if necessary. The crisis will also impact on the scale of Aer Lingus future operations in Ireland, Aer Lingus will be a smaller company with a smaller operation.

Finally, we have no line of sight on any meaningful resumption of operations out of either Cork or Shannon airports. As such we are reviewing the scale of our flying programme from these airports and the ongoing viability of our regional bases there. This is a very challenging situation for everybody, these decisions will not be taken lightly but I can assure you that the additional steps that we are now undertaking will be necessary and critical to position Aer Lingus for future recovery.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available.”

File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

In response, Aer Lingus said in statement: “The catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector has been compounded in Ireland by the implementation of the most restrictive travel policies in Europe and the failure to implement supports for the sector.

Aer Lingus has also not made the required progress on the implementation of industry standard work practices with key cohorts of employees. In this context and given the Aer Lingus quarterly results today, significant redundancies are required across the business. The redundancies will be on voluntary basis if possible but may be implemented compulsorily if required.

Consultations are ongoing with the relevant representative bodies in this regard. Aer Lingus is also reviewing the scale of our flying programme from Cork and Shannon Airports and the ongoing viability of our regional bases there,” the airline said.

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