Belfast Telegraph

Aer Lingus board backs €100m cost-cutting plan

The incoming chairman of Aer Lingus has said that the company's board is "unanimous" in its backing of a plan to cut costs at the airline by €100m next year — although union sources claimed that the carrier's chiefs were "far from decided, let alone unanimous".

Colm Barrington dismissed reports that the board was split over the controversial plan, which is believed to include the outsourcing of up to 1,500 jobs.

Mr Barrington said there was absolute unanimity at an eight- hour board meeting on Friday "in support of management's decision to cut costs in Aer Lingus by up to €100m in 2009".

The next board meeting is due to take place in a fortnight's time.

Mr Barrington, who has worked in the aviation industry for 41 years, takes over from John Sharman next month.

The proposals being discussed are understood to include the outsourcing of ground operations in Shannon, Cork and Dublin.

Last week, Aer Lingus chief Dermot Mannion wrote to union SIPTU saying he "cannot rule out any eventuality" regarding the cost cuts.

And when asked about reports that some air hostesses may be hired from America, Mr Barrington said: “That is one of the options Aer Lingus has to look at.

"Some of the staff in Aer Lingus have unfortunately inherited the work practices of when Aer Lingus was a state-owned company," he added.

Belfast Telegraph