Jobs for 300 as Aer Lingus plans to increase fleet

The airline, bought by IAG for €1.4bn, could increase long-haul fleet to 20 over five years

Aer Lingus could increase its long-haul fleet to 20 over the next five years, creating 300 jobs in the process, according to its chief executive.

The carrier, bought last year by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) for €1.4 billion, will have 14 such craft at the end of this summer, which will be double what it had in 2010.

According to Mr Kavanagh "there is the potential opportunity over the next five years to increase the fleet to 20".

This is ahead of the five extra long-haul craft that IAG pledged to allocate to Aer Lingus, which would have brought the total to 17.


Bigger slice

Mr Kavanagh believes that as Aer Lingus captures a bigger slice of the transatlantic market over the next five years it could require a bigger long-haul fleet than planned.

Each long-haul aircraft creates 100 jobs, which means the airline would have to hire 300 more staff.

However, Mr Kavanagh warned that in order for this to happen, Dublin Airport must have the necessary infrastructure to support it. Aer Lingus fears that bottlenecks at the airport could stall the development of its “gateway” strategy, designed to boost its transatlantic business by connecting European and north American flights through Dublin.

Grow faster Passenger numbers at Dublin Airport hit a record 25 million in 2015 and are expected to surpass that total this year. However, Aer Lingus fears that its success is putting pressure on facilities and wants the airport to invest to tackle this.

Mr Kavanagah took over as chief executive of Aer Lingus in the middle of IAG's bid to buy the Irish airline.

He supported the group’s offer and his intervention in the debate was seen as a factor in helping the deal to get done last year.

In an interview on Friday, Mr Kavanagh explains that he believed that becoming part of the bigger group would allow Aer Lingus to grow its business faster and with less risk than as an independent airline.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas