FIANNA Fáil Spokesperson on Aviation Cathal Crowe says the announcement from Aer Lingus that it will lay off its Shannon Airport staff for three months is a real blow for the region.
The airline has confirmed that it will be laying off all 129 Inflight Service and Ground Operations staff in Shannon Airport from next Monday, March 8th, until June 7th.
The workers will not receive a wage for the duration of this layoff.
“Aer Lingus’s announcement is majorly disappointing and a real blow for its Shannon workers, who have faced almost a year of stress and anxiety about their jobs,” said Deputy Crowe.
“For most of the last year, the state has heavily subsidised the Aer Lingus wage bill first with the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and more recently, the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.
“Whilst the airline is facing significant losses, it has also been well supported – in the last number of weeks, Aer Lingus received a €150m state loan from Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund.
“As Fianna Fáil’s Aviation Spokesperson, I have engaged with the airline and colleagues in government to see if further supports can be put in place so that the Shannon-based workers aren’t left on the breadline.
“More broadly, we need to find a pathway back to flights at the earliest possible opportunity.
“As people continue to be vaccinated on an accelerated basis, we need to examine the possibility of a Covid passport, so that those who have been immunised can take to the skies again.
“I would also question if Aer Lingus should still be continuing to advertise flights from Shannon.
“I’ve been made aware of a number of people who have booked flights for down the line under the illusion that they would be flying from Shannon, only to receive an automated email to say that they will in fact be flying from Dublin instead.
“This, at a time when aviation is at its lowest ebb, builds false hope in consumers and is misleading.
“If they’re flying from Dublin only – which, let me stress, nobody likes – then they need to be honest with customer base at this time.
“Right now, though, my thoughts are with the Aer Lingus workers and their families.
“These next few weeks will be even more difficult for them. I know many of them personally and I’ll do everything I can to help in this situation.”