Irish airline Aer Lingus announces plans for layoffs, restructuring

DUBLIN, May 18 (Reuters) - Irish airline Aer Lingus is to close its cabin crew base at one of the country’s largest airports and impose cutbacks and layoffs across the company as part of a COVID-19 restructuring plan, it said on Tuesday.

In a statement, Aer Lingus said it had “confirmed to staff that the airline will emerge smaller from the pandemic, and there will be a requirement for redundancies”.

The Irish carrier, which like British Airways and Iberia is owned by International Airlines Group, is to close its base at Shannon Airport, one of its four main domestic hubs.

It will also temporarily close its base at Cork Airport and review its ground handling operations at both locations, its statement said.

It said the measures were necessary after it posted a loss of 103 million euros ($125.8 million) in the first three months of the year.

“The cumulative impact of the crisis over the last 15 months means immediate actions and structural changes are required... to generate the cash required to rebuild (Aer Lingus’) financial health,” the statement said.

Management has been highly critical of the government’s COVID-19 travel policies, which have advised against most non-essential travel for more than a year and which include a mandatory quarantine for travellers from the airline’s key market, the United States.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin told parliament the decision to lay off workers was “very sad and difficult news” and promised the government would announce a plan shortly on the restart of non-essential travel.

$1 = 0.8185 euros Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jan Harvey