Coronavirus: Aer Lingus to axe 500 jobs

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Irish airline Aer Lingus (IAG.L) has confirmed it will shed up to 500 jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The cuts will see the loss of around 11% of the 4,500 workforce with the axing of up to 120 support area jobs, 100 ground crew, 50 maintenance staff and 230 pilots and cabin crew.

The carrier is also pressing ahead with plans to reduce pay by 70% until August after a possible deal with unions collapsed.

The company informed the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection of the proposed job cuts yesterday.

In a statement, the airline blamed the government for failing to take steps to protect the aviation industry.

"Ireland has failed to take steps that other European member states have taken - they have progressively restored transport services and connectivity in response to a European Commission invitation to do so," said the statement.

Aer Lingus has been flying just 5% of its normal schedule during the coronavirus outbreak and said it had no certainty of when services would be reinstated.

This week Aer Lingus had just eight aircraft operating passenger flights compared to 57 in the same week last year. 

The 14-day quarantine for passengers arriving into Ireland and the official advice to avoid non-essential travel have exacerbated the situation in the Republic.

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Staff were informed of the redundancies via a video message from chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty.

Outlining the unprecedented scale of the crisis, Moritaty said IATA had forecast the aviation sector will lose over £68bn ($84bn) this year with further losses of £13bn forecast for 2021.

The airline is now starting the required consultation process with trade unions.

In a statement, Fórsa, which represents cabin crew, pilots and certain management staff in the company, said it would "enter discussions with the objective of minimising the number of job losses and protecting the incomes of Aer Lingus staff".

Meanwhile union SIPTU called for an urgent meeting with Aer Lingus and asked management to "step back from the planned lay-offs and further pay reductions it announced earlier this week."

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