Aer Lingus job cut total to exceed previously stated 500 target

Interim chief executive said there would be about 1,000 fewer people working for Aer Lingus than would have been the case if the Covid pandemic hadn’t hit

Aer Lingus is likely to cut more jobs than the 500 initially planned as part of its cost-cutting programme.

Aer Lingus has said the number of jobs it will cut from its business, due to the impact of the Covid crisis, will exceed the 500 positions it confirmed last year.

Speaking after the airline reported an operating loss of €563m for last year, Aer Lingus’ interim chief executive Donal Moriarty said the company was about two-thirds of the way through a set of voluntary severance schemes.

Additional cabin crew positions are likely to be cut and overall job cuts are expected to number between 500 and 600 when the redundancy programme completes.

Last summer, Aer Lingus said 500 jobs would be cut – across ground crew, maintenance staff, cabin crew and support staff – as part of a wide-reaching cost reduction programme in the face of severe Covid challenges.

Mr Moriarty said there would be about 1,000 fewer people working for Aer Lingus than would have been the case if the Covid pandemic hadn’t hit. 

Scrapping of new appointments

However, he said that figure also includes the scrapping of new appointments that would have been made amid normal trading conditions.

As well as its operating loss, Aer Lingus saw its revenues slump by nearly 80% – or €1.6bn – to €467m last year.

On a group basis, the airline’s owner IAG – which also owns British Airways and Spanish carriers Iberia, Vueling and Air Europa – made a loss of just under €7bn and saw revenues plummet by nearly 70% to almost €8bn.

IAG also said Dublin Airport would remain a “critical” hub for Aer Lingus operations despite the airline set to fly more transatlantic routes between the UK and the US as Britain moves to reopen its skies more quickly than Ireland.

Mr Moriarty said Aer Lingus was making “very good progress” in reaching regulatory clearance for its new UK-US routes and should launch them later this year. 

However, he said the move does not necessarily mean moving planes from Ireland to the UK.

Regarding ongoing talks with the Government, Mr Moriarty said discussions were focusing on formulating a detailed plan for the resumption of Ireland’s aviation industry.

He said talks include the establishment of a vaccine verification programme and a pre-departure testing regime.

€150m loan

Aer Lingus recently received a three-year €150m loan from the Government’s Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Mr Moriarty declined to comment on whether Aer Lingus may borrow more from the fund, but said it has only drawn down half of the initial amount and still has headroom for €75m more within the existing facility.

Mr Moriarty – who took temporary charge of Aer Lingus when previous CEO Seán Doyle left to head up British Airways last year – will resume his role as Aer Lingus’ chief corporate affairs officer in April. 

Earlier this week, IAG named Lynne Embleton as Aer Lingus’ new chief executive.

IAG said it carried just 33% of its 2019 passenger numbers during 2020 and is likely to carry about20% of that total in the first quarter of this year.

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