Aer Lingus blames pilots for talks failure

Aer Lingus blames pilots for talks failure

Aer Lingus Chief Executive Christoph Mueller this morning laid the blame firmly at the feet of the airline's pilots for the failure of management and unions to reach agreement on the former State carrier's cost-cutting plan.

The airline also signalled further redundancies to come as it prepared to cut non-profitable routes.

In a statement to the stock exchange released following last night's meeting of the Aer Lingus board, Mueller said: "Aer Lingus and all of its employees have not reached agreement in respect of all aspects of the proposed Transformation Plan.

"We have narrowed the gap with most union groups on the achievement of sustainable savings and this has brought us very close to signature with them."

The exception to this promising outcome is the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) and to a lesser extent, Cabin Crew."

"Our pilot compensation and productivity remains out of line with the compensation and productivity of our competitors," the statement read.

The airline's board, aiming to secure savings of €97m and over 670 job cuts as part of the plan, said it would now push ahead with cost cutting measures including the elimination of loss-making routes.

"In the absence of real cost savings being delivered from all employee groups, we will have to resort to other measures," Mueller said.

The airline said that slashing non-profitable routes would result in more redundancies than those already outlined in its savings plan.

" It is very likely that these redundancies will commence immediately and will be compulsory," Mueller added.

The Aer Lingus board is set to meet again on Friday.

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