Siptu seeks meeting with Lufthansa as 180 Shannon staff to lose jobs

Atlantic Aviation Group to buy German company following months of travel curbs

Aircraft maintenance specialist Atlantic Aviation Group is buying rival Lufthansa’s Shannon business in a move likely to save 300 of 485 jobs. Photograph: Alan Betson

Aircraft maintenance specialist Atlantic Aviation Group is buying rival Lufthansa’s Shannon business in a move likely to save 300 of 485 jobs. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Union officials are seeking a meeting with Lufthansa Technik Shannon following news that up to 180 jobs could be lost in a deal that will rescue the aircraft maintenance business.

Local player Atlantic Aviation Group confirmed on Tuesday it was buying Lufthansa Technik Shannon in a deal likely to save 300 of 485 jobs at the German-owned company.

Siptu officials said on Tuesday evening that they were seeking “an urgent meeting” with Lufthansa Technik management about plans to make about 180 workers redundant.

Organiser Tony Carroll said the union was “disappointed” at the scale of the proposed job losses.

Karan O’Loughlin, Siptu division organiser, said all members had agreed to maintain operations at Lufthansa Technik through the pandemic and sale. She said the union wanted to discuss the job losses and a way “to protect remaining employment terms and conditions” of its 350 members.

Difficult day for workers

Lufthansa began reviewing the business late last year after months of Covid-19 travel curbs, sparking fears the operation could close with the loss of all jobs.

Atlantic Aviation’s purchase guarantees the future of about 300 jobs in Shannon. Lufthansa Technik said “approximately 180 posts” were at risk of redundancy. The company hopes most job redundancies can be secured voluntarily.

Pat Shine, chief executive of Lufthansa Technik Shannon Ltd, acknowledged it was a difficult day for workers.

“Every option was explored, the priority being to protect the maximum number of jobs and the specialist experience of the Lufthansa Technik Shannon Ltd workforce,” he added.

Mr Shine explained that the sale to Atlantic Aviation, a company in the same business, presented itself as the most viable way of minimising job losses.

Shane O’Neill, Atlantic’s chief executive, said the business was proud to have saved 300 jobs for the region.

“We see the expertise and experience of the Lufthansa Technik Shannon Ltd team as being a hugely positive addition to our own expertise,” Mr O’Neill commented.

Biggest player

The deal makes Atlantic Aviation Group the biggest player in Irish aircraft maintenance, employing about 740 people at its bases in Shannon and Brize Norton in England.

Taking on Lufthansa workers will enable Atlantic to expand into work on the Airbus A320 and Boeing 787 aircraft, adding to its existing specialities, according to Mr O’Neill. The company last year bought Flybe Aviation Services Ltd, which maintains cargo aircraft for the UK’s Royal Air Force, at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in England.

Formerly known as Transaero, Atlantic emerged from High Court protection in 2015 with an investment of €2.5 million from backer Patrick Jordan.

Clients

Existing clients include Ryanair, cargo specialist ASL Airlines, Star Air, Tui Group, Jet 2; and major aircraft lessors including Aer Cap, SMBC Aviation Capital, Aergo and Avolon.

Regulators and Lufthansa Technik’s supervisory board must approve the deal.

Mid-western groups welcomed confirmation that Atlantic’s takeover would save 300 jobs.

Stephen Keogh, Shannon Chamber president, pointed out that Lufthansa Technik had provided valuable employment in the region since it was founded.

Mary Considine, chief executive of State company Shannon Group, congratulated Atlantic Aviation. She said both companies were an important part of the Shannon free zone.