Staff at Aer Lingus have been warned the airline may seek compulsory redundancies in a bid to slash costs, and have been told the future of bases in Cork and Shannon is potentially under threat.
Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle outlined the potentially dramatic moves in an internal video to staff members on Friday.
“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,” he told staff.
Staff were told the airline recorded an operating loss of €98m in the three months to the end of June, its biggest ever quarterly loss, when it operated at less than 5pc of capacity compared with 2019.
Staff were told that Ireland’s travel restrictions are tougher than EU peers.
“As such, Ireland is in the unfortunate position of firstly having the most restrictive travel policies in Europe and secondly having so far done the least in Europe to support its aviation sector.”
The airline has been unable to make progress on reaching agreement on cost cutting with unions representing our Cabin Crew and Ground Operations staff, the CEO said.
“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.”
Job losses will be implemented on a voluntary basis if possible, but on a compulsory basis if necessary, he said.
The airline has 350 staff based in Cork and Shannon. Aer Lingus is seeking 500 redundancies across the airline.
In a statement the airline said the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector has been compounded in Ireland by what it called 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.”