Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus revenue down by 10%

By Holly Williams

Embattled airline Aer Lingus today reported a further slide in revenues, but said performance was “stabilising” after efforts to cut aircraft and capacity.

The Dublin-based carrier, which last month unveiled plans to cut a fifth of its workforce, announced it was stripping out another plane from its long-haul service, to trim winter and summer 2010 capacity further.

Revenues fell 9.7% year on year in the third quarter, although the number of passengers rose 7% and the group said it was filling its planes better, with the load factor up across long and short haul flights.

Fares plunged by 17.6% on average in the three months to September 30 as the airline struggled against the consumer spending slump.

But Aer Lingus said the pace of decline in fares had levelled off and an 8.5% hike in sales per passenger on extra charges for short haul flights, such as checked-in baggage and advanced seat booking, also helped.

The group's recently appointed chief executive Christoph Mueller, who joined in September, is leading a major overhaul and cost-cutting drive to steer the firm back to profit.

About 676 staff are being let go and the group is changing its pension arrangements under the first phase of his turnaround plan, over which it is currently in talks with unions — a process it hopes to resolve by about November 18.

In total, Aer Lingus aims to shave about €97m (£86.5m) off its annual cost base. It signalled today that the focus would remain on cost cutting.

Belfast Telegraph