Aer Lingus says new aircraft set to be delayed after pay talks break down

Carrier had been in negotiations with pilots’ union in recent weeks

Aer Lingus says it is “unlikely” to receive the first of several new aircraft due to the airline after talks on a pilot pay dispute ended in deadlock.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilot’s Association (Ialpa) are seeking pay increases of more than 20 per cent to bring earnings in line with inflation and salaries paid by other carriers. Aer Lingus said on Wednesday that talks aimed at resolving the row by the end of this month “concluded without agreement”.

The carrier acknowledged that it was “unlikely” that it would receive the first of six new Airbus jets that it was due to receive from parent International Airlines Group (IAG), as a consequence.

“Aer Lingus now looks forward to the pay dispute being heard by the Labour Court on April 22nd,” said a statement.


The airline opened direct talks with the union ahead of the scheduled Labour Court hearing as it hoped to get a resolution before April 28th, when IAG had to make a final decision on which of its carriers would get the new Airbus. That aircraft is due to begin flying in September.

Ialpa confirmed to members on Wednesday that it and Aer Lingus had agreed to end talks and go to the Labour Court. The union noted that Aer Lingus had told representatives that it was not in a position to increase basic pay above the 8.5 per cent offered by an internal company tribunal, which pilots rejected in January.

Ialpa said that it had submitted a “comprehensive brief” to the Labour Court and was preparing for Monday. The union is not commenting publicly.

The union maintains that its demands are meant to bring pay into line with inflation, going rates for pilots in Europe and to compensate members for the fact that they have not had a pay rise since 2019.

Ialpa calculates that it is seeking amounts to an effective 24 per cent rise, but Aer Lingus says it is closer to 27 per cent.

Aer Lingus also points out that it committed to new flexibility on summer leave with pilots in 2019.

Luis Gallego, chief executive of IAG, warned that the group would stall expansion of Aer Lingus until the dispute was resolved. He indicated that new aircraft originally earmarked for the Irish carrier could go the group’s other subsidiaries, which include British Airways, Iberia and Vueling.

Aer Lingus said earlier this month that the six new Airbus jets it is due to receive would create 80 extra pilots’ jobs. Ialpa maintains that its supports growth but not at the expense of its members’ pay and working conditions.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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