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airline shock Aer Lingus warns of more job cuts following closure of Shannon cabin crew base 

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Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus has warned staff of more potential job cuts as the business has taken on “considerable” debts.

In a message to staff on Friday, the airline’s chief people officer Brian Bowden said the closure of the cabin crew base in Shannon airport would not be reversed and the airline will emerge smaller following the pandemic.

He said the decision had not been taken lightly, but wished to be “blunt and frank” with staff. Mr Bowden said the closure of the base in Shannon, the temporary closure and layoff of staff in Cork, as well as pay cuts, have “understandably” generated a lot of reaction, but the decision will not be undone.

“Regrettably such a reversal will not be possible,” he said.

This follows the airline’s announcement on Tuesday that it will permanently close its Cabin Crew base in Shannon and temporarily lay off staff in Cork between September and late November.

Mr Bowden said the cabin crew base in Shannon was “inefficient” and “out of line with market” for some time.

"In our new reality an inefficient cabin crew base cannot deliver what is required to help rebuild the financial health of the business,” he said.

Mr Bowden added that there is “potential for more” cost cutting measures as the airline has taken on “considerable” debts on commercial terms which will have to be paid back with interest.

Mr Bowden said the airline is currently in talks with trade unions regarding “immediate and structural changes”, and said structural changes would be needed across the business.

Forsa’s Aviation Division currently represents Aer Lingus cabin crew which includes 83 workers in Shannon and 99 in Cork.

Mr Bowden said the airline has been losing on average €1 million per day for over a year, and the €150 million loan received from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will not alleviate the airline’s problems.

He acknowledged the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme had helped to retain jobs and reduce redundancies, but said with “the summer mostly lost it is now clear we have too many resources for even optimistic scenarios of the year ahead”.

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He added that the tight restrictions on airlines in Ireland during the pandemic were the toughest in Europe.

Mr Bowden said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant “immediate actions” were required for the airline to continue and survive.

“It is the cumulative impact, over 15 months, that means that the immediate actions that we announced on Tuesday are absolutely required”, he said.

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