New Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller has warned nearly 4,000 staff at the troubled airline for the first time that sweeping job cuts are coming down the line.
He told workers to brace for an “amputation” rather than “cosmetic surgery” as he attempts to save the ailing carrier. Administrative functions are likely to be hit hardest.
Mr Mueller, who is in line to receive 1.5m share options and 500,000 free shares in the airline over the next few years, would not be drawn on numbers but there has been previous speculation that Aer Lingus would need to cut anywhere between 500 and 800 jobs in order to control its expenditure.
He was speaking publicly yesterday for the first time since taking up his job as chief executive just over two weeks ago.
Mr Mueller said he believed the airline could become profitable again by 2012 if economic conditions began to improve and a sweeping savings plan could be introduced.
He added that he thinks Aer Lingus has a higher than 50-50 chance of survival. Mr Mueller also said that Aer Lingus did not need an investment from another airline.
Mr Mueller said it was not certain yet how many jobs would be lost, but added that he and the management team were exploring ways in which the cull could be minimised.
The airline has already said its restructure would mostly affect jobs in the Republic rather than its operations in Northern Ireland.
New outsourcing plans, as well as the possibility of bringing currently outsourced activities back to the Aer Lingus fold, are being considered, according to Mr Mueller.