Cityjet pilots to protest at airline’s Irish headquarters

Around 270 jobs with company, including 57 pilots, at Dublin Airport are at risk

Cityjet pilots facing the possible loss of their jobs will protest at the Irish airline’s headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Cityjet pilots facing the possible loss of their jobs will protest at the Irish airline’s headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Almost 60 Cityjet pilots facing the possible loss of their jobs will protest at the Irish airline’s headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday.

Around 270 jobs at Cityjet’s Dublin Airport base are at risk, including those of 57 pilots, as court-appointed examiner, Kieran Wallace, bids to put together a rescue plan for the troubled carrier.

Members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) at Cityjet will protest at its offices in Swords, close to Dublin Airport, on Tuesday, claiming that the airline has outsourced their jobs.

Ialpa, part of trade union, Fórsa, says that Cityjet has restarted flying routes for Scandinavian carrier, SAS, using Irish-registered craft but with pilots based in Copenhagen rather than those based in Dublin.

Union official Ian McDonnell said that Cityjet will have to hire new pilots for its remaining operations but has told Ialpa that these posts will be outside the Republic.

“Cityjet is using this examinership process to reduce its debt with the help of the Irish courts, while at the same time off-shoring Irish jobs,” he said.

“This is why pilots are protesting at the airline’s offices [on Tuesday].”

Retraining

Ialpa confirmed that 35 of the Dublin-based pilots were not qualified to fly the Bombardier craft used on the SAS services, but said that retraining for this would cost less than laying them off.

The union confirmed that Cityjet had told it that a some Irish pilots will have the opportunity to relocate outside the Republic if and when needed.

Cityjet provides craft and crew to fly services for other airlines, but lost all of its contracts barring the deal with SAS after Covid-19 lockdowns grounded air travel.

The airline pointed out that 142 pilot and cabin crew and 130 ground staff jobs were at risk in Dublin Airport as it has no contracts for its Irish operation.

Cityjet explained that the majority of Irish pilots were qualified to fly Avro RJ185 craft, which the airline no longer intends using following the loss of a contract to fly from Dublin to London City airport for Aer Lingus.

“Retraining these crews onto another aircraft type without first securing relevant business for such an operation is not possible,” the airline argued.

Cityjet added that it told Ialpa last week that Irish pilots qualified to fly the Bombardier craft used on the SAS routes would be offered posts in Copenhagen when they became available.

The High Court appointed Mr Wallace as examiner to Cityjet in April and granted the airline protection from creditors. Examinership allows troubled companies up to three months to come up with a rescue plan.

Meanwhile, Fórsa announced on Monday that three out of four Aer Lingus cabin crew had rejected Aer Lingus’s proposed Covid-19 recovery plan, which required sweeping work practice changes.

Aer Lingus, which is seeking to cut 500 jobs, said that the proposal lapsed last week after all unions with which it was negotiating failed to agree to its terms by a deadline on Monday June 15th.