Unions reject Norwegian’s cost-cutting plan for Dublin base

Scandinavian airline wants to save €200m and recently told workers of plans to close or shrink bases, including Dublin airport

A Norwegian Air Boeing 737 on the runway of Cork airport after a transatlantic flight from Boston. Photograph: David Creedon/Anzenberger

A Norwegian Air Boeing 737 on the runway of Cork airport after a transatlantic flight from Boston. Photograph: David Creedon/Anzenberger

 

Unions have rejected a Norwegian Air cost-cutting plan that includes axing a potential 150 jobs at its Dublin airport base.

The Scandinavian group wants to save €200 million, and recently told workers of plans to close or shrink bases, including Dublin airport, which could be reduced to one craft from six next September.

However, the 18 unions representing pilots and cabin crew are writing to Norwegian rejecting its approach, and telling management to concentrate first on savings in areas less likely to result in job cuts.

Unions also want Norwegian to deal with them collectively rather than country-by-country, and demand an independent analysis of its finances. The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) backs this stance. Union members employed by Norwegian met in recent days to discuss the group’s proposals for Dublin, from where it serves routes to the US.

Norwegian intends cutting the number of craft at its Dublin airport base to one or two next September from six during the summer peak for air travel. The move could hit 150 of the 250-plus pilots and crew working for the airline there.

Norwegian has said that Dublin-based staff can bid from next June to be redeployed if there are vacancies elsewhere in its fleet.

The airline has told workers that it will try to avoid redundancies where possible, but its move to cut European and US bases means jobs losses are inevitable, sources said.

Cash flow

Norwegian is trying to relieve a squeeze on cash flow and combat the impact of falling air fares and rising costs.

The airline flies from Dublin to Stewart International Airport in New York state, about 100km from Manhattan, and Providence, Rhode Island, in northeastern US.

It also flies to the US from Shannon, and has pledged to operate a summer-only service from Cork to Providence. It has not so far responded to queries about the future of these routes.

Part of the group, Norwegian Air International, obtained an Irish air operator’s certificate – an airline licence – six years ago as it began growing its low-cost, long-haul business. The Government supported Norwegian Air International application to Washington DC’s department of transportation for a permit to fly to the US.