State-owned airport operator Daa is looking to cut around 750-1,000 jobs in the summer as part of an urgent cost cutting programme aimed at stemming mounting losses arising from Covid-19’s shutdown of air travel.
It is understood that jobs will go across the Daa head office, and Dublin and Cork airports, which the company operates on behalf of the State. The company has begun talks with staff and their trade union representatives. Staff will have the option of staying, taking a career break, reduced hours, or voluntary redundancy.
Employees have already been placed on a four-day week.
Daa currently employs around 3,700 workers across Dublin and Cork airports.
Daa said it is losing €1m per day due to the Covid-19 crisis and has warned it will suffer “significant financial losses” this year.
The company has lost approximately €160m in turnover due to the collapse in air travel and the closure of its international airport retail outlets.
Both Dublin and Cork started the year well, but overall passenger numbers are currently down 55% on last year – due to the near total wiping out of passenger movement across April and May – and will fall further.
The two airports saw a combined 35.5 million passengers pass through them last year. That total could drop to as low as nine million this year and only pick up to around 21 million next year – still 40% below pre-Covid levels.
“When Dublin and Cork airports last had that level of passenger numbers, they had between 750 and 1,000 fewer employees, so unfortunately we have to take unpalatable measures to lower our costs across all areas of the business,” Daa CEO Dalton Philips said.
“This is the most serious crisis that has ever faced the international aviation sector and our business,” Mr Philips said.
“Our business and the wider sector have weathered many previous upheavals, such as the recent recession, the impact of September 11, and the 1970s oil crisis, and it will eventually recover from the economic impact of Covid-19. But it is likely to take some time as the short-term future is bleak, and the post Covid industry will be very different,” he said.
Olivier Jankovec, head of airport representative group ACI Europe recently said that "Europe’s airports are on their knees."
The Daa business generated a turnover of €935m last year, representing a 4% increase; with earnings rising 4% to €302m. Pre-exceptional profits were up 13% at just over €150m. However, a dividend to government, in respect of last year, has been scrapped and most investment has also been put on hold.
The group said it remains committed to Cork Airport – which, although still loss-making, saw a fourth straight year of passenger growth in 2019. However, a €40m investment plan for it over the next four-to-five years will be reviewed, along with all capital spending projects.
However, essential projects – such as the new runway at Dublin Airport and an upgrade of hold baggage screening at Dublin and Cork, which is a regulatory requirement – will go ahead and Daa will continue to seek planning permission for future works.