Pilot strike forces Aer Lingus to cancel 244 flights next week


Aer Lingus EI NSB Airbus A 320 251N (neo) London Heathrow Airport (LHR EGLL), tags: 244 - CC BY-SA

Aer Lingus has announced major travel disruptions for next week, with over 244 flights canceled due to a strike by its pilots. Led by the Irish Air Line Pilots Association (IALPA), this action will cause significant inconveniences. For example, next Saturday alone, 120 flights will be canceled, affecting around 15,000 passengers.

Aer Lingus flights canceled

On Saturday, June 29, pilots plan to stop working from 5am to 1pm, causing further chaos for the airline. This eight-hour strike adds to the previously announced cancellation of 124 flights due to a continuing work-to-rule protest. Pilots are pushing for a 24% pay raise to keep up with inflation since their last increase in 2019.

In response to IALPA’s announcement of an eight-hour pilot strike on Saturday, June 29, Aer Lingus has voiced its disappointment. The airline is forced to cancel 120 flights on that day, affecting 15,000 passengers booked on short-haul flights. To lessen the impact on long-haul flights, Aer Lingus plans to reschedule some flights on June 28 and June 29 to prevent cancellations.

Aer Lingus is directly contacting affected passengers. Some customers will be rebooked automatically onto other flights, while others will be notified via email about their canceled flights and available options.

These options include changing their flight at no additional cost, requesting a refund, or choosing a travel voucher. You can find more information about the canceled flights on the Aer Lingus website under the ‘Travel Advisory’ section.

Thousands of summer holiday plans are in disarray due to the ongoing industrial action, affecting nearly 20,000 passengers. Significant routes are being disrupted, including those from Cork and Dublin to London Heathrow. Key European destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Rome are also impacted, along with transatlantic flights to New York’s JFK airport.

Taoiseach Simon Harris and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have appealed to both sides to address their issues using the established industrial relations channels.

Harris has called on all parties to rethink their stances, underlining the significance of employing the Government’s industrial relations tools to find a resolution. He stressed the crucial need for all involved to avoid escalating the situation and underscored the importance of working together.

Captain Mark Tighe, President of IALPA, defended the pilots by accusing Aer Lingus management of escalating the conflict through antagonistic behavior and threats. He stated that instead of participating in direct negotiations, the airline has been issuing letters that threaten to cut terms and conditions unilaterally.

Tighe pointed out that these letters are intended to terminate collective agreements without mutual consent. Additionally, he disputed the airline’s assertion regarding the rise in pilot absences due to sickness. He argued that these claims are baseless and only serve to heighten the ongoing strain between the two sides.

Strike talks stalled

Aer Lingus has criticized the planned strike, stating that it will cause major problems for travelers during the busy holiday season. The airline has expressed its willingness to hold direct talks with IALPA and has offered a 12.25% pay increase, which the union has turned down.

Aer Lingus also mentioned that its pilots are already well-paid, with the highest earners receiving up to €287,000, including pensions and benefits.

Donal Moriarty, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Aer Lingus, mentioned that the airline cannot agree to the 24% pay raise requested by IALPA. He indicated that Aer Lingus is ready to engage in direct discussions to resolve this wage matter fairly.

However, he noted that IALPA ended negotiations last Monday. Moriarty added that the airline is also prepared to talk about ways to improve productivity and flexibility alongside any potential pay increase.

With the strike date fast approaching, more flight cancellations could be on the horizon. Aer Lingus hasn’t dismissed the possibility of further disruptions. Both the government and the airline stress the need for a resolution, highlighting the significant inconvenience to passengers during the busy holiday period.

Passengers should prepare for major travel disruptions and check the Aer Lingus website regularly for updates. It might also be wise to consider alternative travel plans if possible.

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