Aer Lingus hopes to avoid pay cuts in bid to lower costs

AER LINGUS chief executive Christoph Mueller offered the hope that staff will not be subjected to possible pay cuts until next year at the earliest, with the airline committed to “finding other ways” to lower costs.

Speaking after the airline’s annual general meeting, Mr Mueller also said the main reason for Aer Lingus’s current difficulties was the “very, very weak outlook” of the Irish economy and high fuel prices.

He said the company would be going to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) seeking a reduction on airport charges. A DAA spokesman said: “Dublin Airport’s charges are more than 25% cheaper than their European peers.”

Mr Mueller said the airline had hoped the Irish economy would be “coming out of the trough” in 2012 but poor GNP performance here and rising fuel costs looked “a little bit sinister” and had impacted on Aer Lingus’s financial outlook. Other ways to cut costs would be needed, he said.

The Greenfield deal runs until 2012 “and we feel committed to that”, he said, although by June, when the company has a better idea as to its cost requirements, any changes affecting staff would first be put to staff.

At the AGM, Aer Lingus came under criticism from shareholders over its redundancy and rehiring scheme of 2008 which ended up with the airline paying €29.5 million to Revenue.


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