IMPACT raises concerns over IAG bid for Aer Lingus

British Airways plcIMPACT trade union, which represents cabin crew, pilots and some ground staff at Aer Lingus, has written to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, outlining the union’s concerns about the consequences of a successful takeover of the airline by International Airlines Group (IAG).

In a letter sent to the minister last week, IMPACT national secretary, Matt Staunton, wrote that the proposed takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG represents significant risks to Irish interests, particularly in terms of accessibility to Ireland for both business and tourism. “It also represents a significant risk to the security of employment for Irish workers employed directly or indirectly by Aer Lingus” he said.

Mr Staunton said that the minister needed to consider the strategic importance of maintaining some holding in an airline that serves to maintain strong links with EU, US and other critical trading partners.

On the issue of the Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow, Mr Staunton said “These slots will make greater returns for IAG if they are used to service the London-US market rather than the London-Dublin market. In such circumstances they would also encroach on the successful direct connections provided by Aer Lingus between Ireland and the US.

“Over one million passengers per year travel from UK provincial airports to use Dublin Terminal 2 as a hub to the US. This is lucrative long haul business that British Airways / IAG would like to reclaim” he said.

Jobs risk

Mr Staunton also said that IMPACT has estimated that a successful takeover by IAG could place up to 1,200 jobs at risk at the airline, as IAG would be likely to seek substantial cost and revenue synergies to justify its investment in Aer Lingus.

“One of the primary cost synergies arising would come from a reduction in the Aer Lingus employee headcount particularly in the ‘back office’ where there would be readily identifiable duplication with existing resources in London and, possibly, IAG’s base in Madrid (Iberia). This is also true of some maintenance functions, given the substantial IAG maintenance facilities in London and Madrid” he said.

Currently, Aer Lingus directly employs 3,900 people, most of whom live and work in Dublin. Of these, the number employed exclusively on the ground in areas such as clerical, operative, and other ‘back office’ roles is 2,100.

“Executive and senior decision making would transfer to London, with perhaps a token executive presence in Dublin. Following the IAG takeover of Iberia, the company announced 4,500 job losses. On a like-for-like basis with Iberia this would represent job losses of between 1,000 and 1,200 in Aer Lingus at Dublin airport” he said. Mr Staunton said that the union had confirmed the estimates with analysts in Dublin and London.

Related media:

RTE Morning Ireland, Monday 26th January 2015 – “Niall Shanahan, communications officer with the IMPACT trade union claims any takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG could result in job losses and have an impact on connections at Heathrow.” LISTEN HERE