Tuesday 21 November 2017

New SAS Ireland airline to hire 40 at its Dublin HQ

SAS confirmed plans for the new Ireland-based unit last month. Stock image
SAS confirmed plans for the new Ireland-based unit last month. Stock image
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A NEW Irish unit being established by Scandinavian airline SAS is expected to employ 40 people in Dublin by the end of the year, according to its acting ceo.

The headquarters of the new SAS leisure-focused operation are in Ireland but it will also have bases in Spain and London.

It's likely to carry two million to 2.5 million passengers in its first year, based on a load factor of between 75pc and 80pc, Mikael Wangdahl told the Irish Independent.

SAS confirmed plans for the new Ireland-based unit last month.

It said that the decision to establish the new operation here is a result of intense competition in Europe's airline market, and rising demand for leisure travel.

The initial start-up costs of the Irish division - called SAS Ireland - are likely to be less than €5m. Its first flight is expected to take-off next November.

The new unit will use nine new Airbus A320neo aircraft. That fleet will require a total of about 90 pilots and 180 cabin crew.

By basing SAS Ireland pilots and cabin crew outside Scandinavia, the new division's labour costs will be between 35pc and 40pc cheaper that those of the parent.

Read more: SAS to set up Irish division as it competes in leisure traveller market

Its staff will be paid similar wages to their Scandinavian counterparts, but social charges and taxes will be lower.

The SAS Ireland unit will effectively operate as a wet lease provider to the SAS Group.

Wet lease operations - where a third party provides crew and aircraft to a client airline - currently account for 22pc of the SAS fleet and flew 4 million of its total 29.4 million passengers last year.

Dublin-based airline CityJet is the biggest wet lease operator for SAS, having bought its Finnish Blue1 subsidiary in 2015, and its Danish subsidiary Cimber in January.

Mr Wangdahl said that SAS Ireland will submit its application for an Irish Air Operator's Certificate to the Irish Aviation Authority next month.

The application process will take a number of months.

SAS Ireland has already selected London Heathrow as its UK base, but has not yet made a decision on which airport will be its Spanish base.

Mr Wangdahl said that the hiring process has begun for a full-time ceo for SAS Ireland and about five other senior executives.

He met Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor yesterday - but said SAS Ireland will not receive any government financial support for setting up its operation here.

Irish Independent

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