Emerald Airlines agrees 10% pay rise for pilots

It is the first collective labour agreement at the airline since Fórsa won union recognition last year

Emerald Airlines, the operator of Aer Lingus’s regional services, has reached an agreement with union representatives on a 10 per cent pay rise for pilots.

Fórsa and the union’s airline pilot branch Ialpa (the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association), said the pay agreement provides for the following increases: 3.5 per cent on March 1st, 2024; 3.5 per cent on March 1st, 2025; and 3 per cent on March 1st, 2026.

The collective labour agreement (CLA) is the first at the company since the union won recognition last year.

The CLA includes a seniority agreement at the airline, along with increases to sick pay and the introduction of a service-related pay scale.


The union also secured a commitment from Emerald Airlines management that negotiations on enhancing the agreement will happen if the company makes accumulated profits by 2026.

Emerald Airlines reported losses after tax of €21.8 million in 2022, in its first full year of operation as an airline. However, directors said they had “laid the groundwork for a competitive airline business”.

The agreement is being put to a ballot of pilot members in Emerald Airlines, with voting closing at noon next Tuesday, March 5th. Fórsa and Ialpa are recommending acceptance of the deal.

Ialpa president Mark Tighe said the agreement is a “solid foundation” on which pilots in Emerald can continue to improve their terms and conditions.

“This agreement is a significant achievement by our members in Emerald, given that a year ago the company refused to even engage with unions. I would like to congratulate Ialpa activists in Emerald who secured this agreement,” he said.

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Emerald Airlines operates regional flights on behalf of Aer Lingus and UK regional routes trading as Aer Lingus Regional. The company has bases in Dublin and Belfast, and by the end of 2022 employed more than 400 staff, operating on 22 regional routes across the UK and Ireland.

Emerald Airlines has been contacted for comment.

Separately, a pay dispute between Aer Lingus and its pilots is due before the Labour Court in the coming weeks. The airline’s pilots are seeking pay rises of more than 20 per cent after rejecting an offer amounting to 8.5 per cent.

Chief executive of Aer Lingus owner International Airlines Group (IAG) Luis Gallego said this week that it will stall delivery of new aircraft to the Irish carrier until the pay row is resolved.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.