HomeBussinessRyanair to fly Aer Lingus routes to alleviate cancellations

Ryanair to fly Aer Lingus routes to alleviate cancellations

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Ryanair will fly some routes for Aer Lingus next week to aid its rival in combating industrial action by pilots that has forced the cancellation of almost 550 flights.

The news came as Aer Lingus cancelled 80 more services from Thursday, July 11th, to the following Sunday, while it and the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (Ialpa), part of trade union Fórsa, awaited Labour Court proposals to resolve a pay row.

An internal memo states that the airline has secured additional “hire-in cover from Ryanair” from Thursday to Sunday and acknowledges that this allowed it cut the number of cancellations over those days to 80.

The company’s note does not say how many flights are involved, but it is understood that Ryanair is providing two planes and crew to its competitor that will fly 12 services.

Aer Lingus’s decision to cut 80 more flights next week brings to 548 the number of services it has cancelled to combat pilots’ industrial action, including an ongoing work to rule and an eight-hour strike last Saturday.

About 82,000 passengers have had their travel plans upended as a consequence. The airline began contacting those hit by the latest round of cancellations on Friday.

Aer Lingus has also hired aircraft and crews from Spanish-based Privilege Style Airlines to fly Dublin-Chicago and Danish Air Transport to cover European routes popular with Irish sun seekers, including Malaga and the Greek islands.

The latest developments came as the sides waited for Labour Court proposals for a deal between the airline and its pilots, who are seeking 20 per cent-plus pay rises to compensate for inflation.

Representatives of both appeared at the court for more than three hours on Wednesday and said afterwards it would issue a recommendation in coming days, .

Both sides will have to agree to whatever proposals the Labour Court makes to resolve the row, as the body’s recommendations are not binding.

Ialpa president Capt Mark Tighe has already confirmed that the union’s members will vote on any recommendation.

Further strikes are likely if this latest effort to break the deadlock fails.

The Labour Court used powers under industrial relations law to intervene in the dispute this week following the failure of various efforts to find a solution.

Pilots began refusing over time, roster changes and requests to work out of hours last week, while they halted work last Saturday for eight hours, during which 500 union members marched at Dublin Airport.

Ialpa is seeking pay rises of more than 20 per cent to compensate members for inflation. The union says it moderated its position during talks and argues that it will take just €5 million a year to bridge the gap with Aer Lingus.

The airline says it cannot agree to increases greater than the 12.25 per cent awarded to cabin and ground crews without getting a deal from the pilots requiring them to do more work than currently.

Aer Lingus maintains that the impact on individual pilots will be “minimal” but will allow it to operate more efficiently.

The airline’s agreements with cabin and ground crew allow those groups to lodge fresh claims should it award increases greater than 12.25 per cent to other workers within Aer Lingus that are not tied to extra productivity.

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