| 11°C Dublin

Aer Lingus hires in jets at €400,000 per day in dispute

AER LINGUS planned to run a full flight schedule today -- as some cabin crew faced the sack tomorrow.

Airline management are threatening to fire staff who do not sign up to new work rosters.

The union representing cabin crew, IMPACT, claimed Aer Lingus is spending an estimated €400,000 a day hiring in at least 10 aircraft -- but said it could be much more if planes and crews were hired for transatlantic flights.

The airline has refused to disclose the costs so far.

Last Friday, Aer Lingus said it would give cabin crew who have been removed from the payroll a further chance to agree to work the controversial new rosters.

Letters containing these "declarations" are being sent in phases to around 170 cabin crew who have refused to work the rosters, including 150 who have been struck off the payroll.

The first group of staff who received the letters are scheduled to attend "investigative meetings" with Aer Lingus management tomorrow.

The airline's threat to fire them came after more than 4,000 passengers were hit when the airline cancelled over 50 flights last week.

An Aer Lingus spokesman said the "schedule is planned to operate normally" for the coming days

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said he would lease another four planes to the airline today. "If we can help a union lose a stupid row like that we will always be willing to help," he said.