Up to 1,000 staff to leave Cork and Dublin airports under severance programme

DAA to restore full pay to staff from March 28th, chief executive says

Dublin Airport. DAA offered voluntary severance to its 3,100-plus staff in the Republic last year as it grappled with the impact of Government Covid-19 travel restrictions on its business. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Dublin Airport. DAA offered voluntary severance to its 3,100-plus staff in the Republic last year as it grappled with the impact of Government Covid-19 travel restrictions on its business. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Up to 1,000 workers in total are likely to leave Cork and Dublin airports under a voluntary programme operated by their parent DAA, since last year.

State-owned DAA, responsible for both airports, offered voluntary severance to its 3,100-plus staff in the Republic last year as it grappled with the impact of Government Covid-19 travel restrictions on its business.

Dalton Philips, chief executive, told staff in a letter on Thursday that 850 workers have left while more are due to go in coming weeks.

“In total, the current right-sizing programme will see more than 1,000 Irish-based staff permanently leave the organisation – that’s about a third of our workforce,” he said.

According to DAA’s latest annual report, the company employed an average of 3,176 people in Ireland and 963 internationally in 2019.

The final number of job losses is in line with what the company indicated when it first announced plans to reduce its workforce in May 2020.

DAA offered up to two years’ pay and other incentives to staff leaving the company.

Air travel is one of the industries hardest hit by states’ efforts to contain the virus. The number of passengers who travelled through Dublin Airport last year fell 78 per cent to 7.4 million from 32.9 million in 2019.

Restore pay

Mr Philips also told staff that from March 28th, DAA would restore full pay to employees who were staying with the business and who had accepted work practice changes.

The company’s employees have been on 80 per cent of pay since April last year, although Mr Phillips acknowledged that the loss of overtime, bonuses, profit and gain share meant actual cuts were 45 per cent in some cases.

He asked that staff take a minimum of 20 days of leave or time off in lieu due to them between March 28th and September 11th to help prepare the business for when a recovery does begin.

DAA company pledged in December that it would restore full pay this month if there were sufficient signs of a recovery as governments began vaccination programmes.

That was before new Covid-19 variants prompted countries to tighten travel restrictions or news that vaccine deliveries would fall short of original promises.

Restructuring has also led to 1,000 people leaving DAA’s overseas operations, according to Mr Philips’s note. However, the Irish company does not employ all of those staff directly.

Difficult place

Overall, DAA cut costs by 50 per cent between April and December last year. However, its chief executive said that passenger numbers in Dublin and Cork airports remained low, leaving the business in a difficult place.

“At this point, we are not able to accurately forecast how things might look in the second half of this year,” Mr Philips said.

“There are significant positives though – the vaccine rollout programme is ramping up and there is a huge underlying demand for international travel.”