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Aer Lingus warning as debts mount

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Aer Lingus has contingency plans in place to introduce changes to its direct employment model of groundhandling if its staff refuses to accept a pay freeze and cutbacks.

The airline faces a difficult financial position and mounting debt that is set to worsen when it reveals its annual financial results for 2021.

It also faces a €1bn bill to replace 20 short-haul aircraft, it said.

The stark warnings came in a detailed submission to the Labour Court, seen by the Sunday Independent.

It said if ground staff do not accept a pay freeze and other cutbacks it could move to an outsourced model for its ground operations with “far fewer airplanes and far fewer jobs”.

The airline said the cost of ground handling at Dublin Airport before Covid “was significantly off-market” and this was being compounded by the pandemic.

It said if “a recommendation from the court be again rejected we will have no option but to proceed with changes to our resourcing model”.

“We have been motivated throughout to reach an agreement that allows Aer Lingus to rebuild with an internal resourcing model.

“We cannot take another no answer from this group of staff.

"A rejection by the representatives to whatever recommendation that arises from the court will most likely result in changes to our resource model being introduced.”

The airline had informed Siptu that “we have commenced contingency planning and discussions in this regard”, it said.

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