Ryanair, Ireland’s favourite airline today (Thursday, 8th October 2009) called on the Department of Transport, to explain why it rejected Ryanair’s December 2008 offer for Aer Lingus, which guaranteed to double the size of Aer Lingus’ short-haul fleet and create 1,000 new jobs in the airline over a 5 year period, when yesterday the Board of Aer Lingus, which is controlled by the Irish Government and the trade unions announced 670 jobs losses, as well as pay and pension cuts in Aer Lingus.
Ryanair’s Dec 2008 offer document for Aer Lingus guaranteed to double Aer Lingus’ short-haul fleet from 30 to over 60 aircraft, create 1,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers over a 5 year period, while at the same time reducing Aer Lingus’ fares, removing its fuel surcharges, securing its brand, Heathrow slots and connectivity.
Ryanair’s offer would also have provided Aer Lingus with a strong financial partner, at a time when all other airlines across Europe are collapsing or consolidating into one of the big four European airlines led by Air France, BA, Lufthansa and Ryanair.
Since the Minister for Transport rejected Ryanair’s Dec 2008 offer, Aer Lingus has:
· Announced record losses of over €100m for 2008.
· Guided increased losses in 2009.
· Seen its long-haul traffic collapse.
· Seen its net cash balances fall from over €800m, to less than €400m.
· Yesterday announced over 670 jobs losses, and pay and pension cuts.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:
“Yesterday’s announcement of widespread job losses and pay cuts in Aer Lingus is further evidence of the incompetence of Ireland’s Department of Transport. Since they rejected Ryanair’s second offer for Aer Lingus last January, the Irish Government and the trade unions have controlled the Board of Aer Lingus and have spectacularly mismanaged it. Aer Lingus’ share price has collapsed, its losses have exploded, its transatlantic business is in freefall and now they have announced over 670 job losses, together with pay and pension cuts, when just 10 months ago they rejected an offer of guaranteed investment, growth and 1,000 new jobs in Aer Lingus.
“The Department of Transport should now explain to Aer Lingus shareholders, and the 670 Aer Lingus workers who are facing redundancy why they rejected an offer from the world’s largest international airline, which would have doubled the size of the short-haul fleet and created up to 1,000 new jobs at the airline, while securing the future of Aer Lingus, its brand, and its connectivity. The sooner the dead hand of the Department of Transport and its corrupt Civil Service is removed from the transport sector in Ireland, the better it will function in the interests of consumers.
“Ryanair believes there is a bright future for Aer Lingus, but it will never be achieved while it is mismanaged by a bunch of political and trade union hacks on the Aer Lingus Board”.