Pay for Aer Lingus chief tops €1.29m

Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Müller saw his pay packet rise by over 4% last year, although his basic salary remained frozen below the €500,000 mark.

Mr Müller’s remuneration came in just above €1.29m; up from a complete package of €1.24m for 2011.

The increase mainly comes from a €13,000 increase in ‘other benefits’ to €52,000 and a near 6% rise in his performance-related bonus to €647,000.

Mr Müller — who took over the top job at Aer Lingus in 2009 — was paid a basic salary of €475,000 in 2012; a figure unchanged from the previous year and, in fact, the figure at which he voluntarily agreed to freeze it at since his appointment.

Mr Mueller’s basic salary remains subject to annual review.

He does not receive any additional fees for being a director of the airline.

Aer Lingus’s chief financial officer, Andrew MacFarlane, also saw his basic pay remain at €330,000, but his total remuneration package fell from €1.05m to €876,000.

However, Mr MacFarlane’s performance-related bonus rose from €366,000 in 2011 to €399,000 last year. Total directors’ pay, including executive and non-executive board members, reduced slightly last year, from €2.77m to €2.68m.

In Aer Lingus’s 2012 annual report, published yesterday, the airline’s remuneration committee stated that in the previous year’s report, it flagged its intention to introduce revisions to the remuneration arrangements, “in order to retain and motivate the chief executive officer to continue to deliver superior performance”.

Last month, Aer Lingus published its full-year figures for 2012, which showed an 8.2% increase in group revenue to just under €1.4bn, a near 8% drop in gross debt to €531.6m and a 41% rise — to €69.1m — in operating profits, before exceptional items. After exceptionals, it was down by nearly 51% to €42.6m.

On its mainstream routes, the airline carried more than 9.6m passengers — a 1.5% increase on the previous year. When the Aer Arann-operated regional routes are added, Aer Lingus topped the 10.8m mark; which counts as a record annual high for the carrier.

“2012 was another excellent year for Aer Lingus. It represented the third consecutive year of profitability and further affirmation that the management team — and, indeed, its entire employee base — has successfully transformed Aer Lingus into a leaner, more efficient and profitable organisation,” the remuneration committee said in the report.

It said the airline recorded performance improvements against “almost every key financial measure in 2012, as well as against a range of key non-financial measures”.

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