Aer Lingus has outlined its intention to permanently close its base at Shannon Airport.
A letter sent by the airline to Tanaiste Leo Varadkar today, which has been seen by Clare FM, suggests more than 80 staff are expected to be made redundant as a result of the move.
While Aer Lingus has continued to operate flights from Cork and Dublin throughout the pandemic, the airline has run no flights from Shannon Airport.
The airline temporarily laid off Shannon staff in March, and they had been due to return to work in June.
In a letter seen by Clare FM to Tanaiste and Minister for Business, Leo Varadkar, Aer Lingus has outlined its intention to progress with collective redundancies for its staff in Shannon.
The letter says the airline’s Shannon base has been ‘inefficient and out of line with market for a significant period of time’.
It goes on to state that the current ‘off-market position of (its) Shannon cabin crew base cannot be sustained given the overall requirement for cost efficiency and productivity.’
81 staff are currently employed by Aer Lingus at the base, and the airline says they are all currently temporaily laid off or on a career break.
The airline says it may, subject to certain conditions, open what it describes as a limited voluntary severance opportunity for cabin crew in Dublin to facilitate the redeployment of some Shannon-based staff.
Consultation with union representatives, including Forsa and SIPTU is beginning this afternoon, with employees understood to have been informed about the move in the last number of hours.
Aer Lingus say the proposed redundancies are intended to take effect from July 1st.
Statement From Aer Lingus
On Friday 7th May, Aer Lingus issued financial results which showed that the airline lost €103 million in the first three months of 2021. This is on top of a loss of €361million in 2020.
Aer Lingus staff were today advised that the cumulative impact of the crisis over the last 15 months means immediate actions and structural changes are required at the airline. The airline must be more cost-efficient and productive in order to generate the cash required to rebuild its financial health.
Immediate actions announced today by the airline include the permanent closure of the Aer Lingus cabin crew base at Shannon airport; the temporary closure of the Aer Lingus base at Cork airport from September until late November 2021; commencement of a review of our ground handling requirements in both Shannon and Cork airports; and the continuation of reduced working hours and associated pay reductions and lay-offs and the potential for more lay-offs.
Structural change will also be required across the business. The required structural changes will be specific to each business area but will focus primarily on the areas where there is off-market pay, terms, conditions and work practices.
Aer Lingus confirmed to staff that the airline will emerge smaller from the pandemic and there will be a requirement for redundancies.
Aer Lingus has commenced discussions with Unions representing employees in Aer Lingus regarding both the immediate and structural changes that need to be implemented.
Statement from Shannon Group
Commenting on today’s announcement by Aer Lingus of their decision to permanently close its cabin crew base at Shannon Airport, Mary Considine, CEO of Shannon Group said: “Our thoughts are with the Shannon based Aer Lingus employees impacted by this decision. It is extremely disappointing news for them.
“This announcement highlights once again the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic across the aviation sector here. Restoring regional connectivity and international travel will be pivotal to economic recovery as we emerge from the effects of the pandemic. Critical to this will be the urgent implementation of a clear road map and timelines for the restart of aviation.
“Aer Lingus remains a valued partner for Shannon Group, and we value our long-established and continuing relationship with the airline. We are committed to working with them and all our aviation partners on the restoration of vital services to and from Shannon Airport which are critical for business and tourism sectors.“