Walsh rejects Aer Lingus jobs fears

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh arrives at Government Buildings in Dublin where he faced questions over his bid for Aer Lingus
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh arrives at Government Buildings in Dublin where he faced questions over his bid for Aer Lingus

Fears of thousands of job losses at Irish airline Aer Lingus if the owner of British Airways wins its £1 billion bid for the carrier are nonsense, it has been claimed.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent the International Airlines Group (IAG), rejected comparisons with the 2,500 job cuts that hit the Spanish carrier Iberia after it was bought out by the global airline company.

The trade union Impact, which represents some pilots, cabin crew and ground staff at Aer Lingus, said if the deal went through it would result in up to 1,200 jobs being slashed in Ireland.

“That’s complete nonsense,” Mr Walsh said.

“We’ve been very clear. And it’s important to be honest. There certainly would be some jobs in Aer Lingus today in admin areas that would be duplicated by admin roles that we’ve got elsewhere. We would be looking to reduce in the head office, in admin areas, some jobs.

“But the big story is that we would grow the airline.”

Suggesting that up to 500 jobs could be added to the company payroll - pilots, cabin crew, engineers and mechanics - he said new aircraft would be added to the fleet each year over the next four to five years if the takeover goes through.

He would not be drawn on the size of possible lay-offs in backroom, head office and procurement divisions of the company.

Aer Lingus is understood to have a business plan of its own to add one long haul aircraft per year over the next four years, taking its transatlantic fleet up to 14 aircraft.

He said part of IAG’s business plan would be to double that growth.

“We believe we can add more to that ... it could be as much as one a year. The jobs that are created are very significant. These are good quality jobs that would be based in Ireland, primarily based in Dublin. These are pilots, cabin crew, engineers, mechanics, people required to support the growth in the passenger numbers.”