Cityjet pilots fear Scandinavian crew will replace them

Irish-based airline has contract to provide aircraft and crew to fly routes for SAS

Irish-based Cityjet pilots fear Scandinavian crew will replace them when the troubled airline resumes flying once Covid-19 travel bans are lifted.

Cityjet got High Court protection from creditors last month, when accountant Kieran Wallace was appointed examiner to oversee the airline's rescue.

The company wants to cut 280 jobs from its 1,175 total and this week began talks on redundancies with the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa), part of trade union Fórsa.

Union official Ian McDonnell said Cityjet wanted to let go 57 pilots, almost all those working for the airline at Dublin Airport.


Mr McDonnell claimed that Cityjet intended to crew Irish-registered aircraft out of Dublin with employees based in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries.

Irish-based Cityjet has a contract to provide aircraft and crew to fly routes for Scandinavian carrier, SAS.

Mr McDonnell called the move "extremely disappointing" as Mr Justice Quinn said the number employed by Cityjet was a factor in his decision when he appointed Mr Wallace.

“Cityjet’s Dublin base has been in operation for 27 years, and many pilots have spent the majority of their aviation career with the airline,” he said.

Ialpa told Cityjet that pilots in Dublin would accept pay cuts of up to 50 per cent while offering complete flexibility until flights resume, to facilitate the airline’s rescue and successful exit from examinership.

Cityjet lost a contract with Aer Lingus to provide services from Dublin to London City Airport, Birmingham and Paris, several weeks ago.

Rescue plan

Examinership gives troubled companies protection from creditors for up to 100 days to allow them come up with a rescue plan.

Coronavirus travel bans forced Cityjet to seek Mr Wallace's appointment. The airline focuses on providing other carriers with craft and crew to fly short-haul routes in Europe.

Cityjet said it was “currently involved in ongoing consultation with its employee representatives and was under examinership”.

Meanwhile, reports said Aer Lingus told workers it would temporarily lay off cabin crew based at Shannon Airport while cutting pay for those in Dublin and Cork by between 30 and 50 per cent.

The airline said it was attempting to align hours and pay with the work that needed to be done.

Aer Lingus also confirmed it was continuing talks with unions on cutting costs. Sources speculate that it will make 900 of its 4,500 workers redundant.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas