Row over Ryanair jobs plan

 

Madam, – Michael O’Leary’s use of the lives and job prospects of 300 aircraft engineers at Dublin Airport as pawns in another of his petulant and high-profile attacks on the DAA and the Government is a gross insult to the people involved. Further, his attempt to force the Government to tortuously interfere with Aer Lingus’s lease of Hangar 6 is outrageous.

Hangar 6 is the only hangar at Dublin Airport capable of accommodating more than one of the large wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft that Aer Lingus uses for its transatlantic services. Maintenance of these aircraft has been undertaken in Hangar 6 on behalf of Aer Lingus by SRT and predecessor companies for more than 10 years. Following the departure of SRT last year, Aer Lingus moved to protect its A330 maintenance capability by employing 96 staff from SRT and entering into a 20 year lease of Hangar 6. There are no circumstances under which this lease can be broken in order to provide the hangar to a third party.

Aer Lingus currently employs 230 maintenance employees, who are now engaged in maintenance work in Hangar 6. Aer Lingus’s fleet, its operations and the jobs of its 3,000 employees all depend on this work being completed regularly. Aer Lingus expects that the level of maintenance at Dublin will continue at least at the present level, and may increase as conditions in the airline industry improve. These are real, well-paid jobs that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Every night, Aer Lingus has an average of more than three aircraft in Hangar 6 for routine and unscheduled maintenance, and can have as many as six in the hangar at any one time. Most of this work takes place outside daylight hours.

There are five other hangars at Dublin Airport, all of which are suitable for maintenance of the smaller narrow body aircraft used by Ryanair.

If Mr O’Leary is truly interested in establishing an aircraft maintenance facility at Dublin Airport – and of actually hiring 300 people here – then he will not be prevented from doing so by a lack of hangar space. But his refusal to act in a normal commercial manner and to deal on the issue with the DAA (with which he interacts on a daily basis), and his attempts to overturn a legally binding contract between the DAA and Aer Lingus, all suggest that he is merely engaged in another of his quixotic attacks on those who won’t bow to his every whim.

The Government, the IDA, the DAA and Aer Lingus have offered full support in developing a maintenance facility at Dublin Airport, but Mr O’Leary has refused to engage unless he can have something that doesn’t belong to him – another child’s toy. He shows no regard for the 300 people who were led to believe that they might have job opportunities at this purported facility nor for the 230 people who are already employed by Aer Lingus in Hangar 6.

These people are being used as pawns in some twisted game that would appear to have little to do with jobs or aircraft maintenance. – Yours, etc,

COLM BARRINGTON,

Chairman,

Aer Lingus,

Dublin Airport,

Co Dublin.

Madam, – Release the Hangar 6. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL ROONEY,

Hillcrest Court,

Knocknacarra,

Galway.

Madam, – How amazing: the Government ignores the law to retain one job and studiously relies on it to deny 300 jobs. – Yours, etc,

PETER COUNIHAN,

Newlawn,

Ballyboughal,

Co Dublin.