'The industry is crumbling': Warning over aviation jobs follows Stobart Air

ireland
'The Industry Is Crumbling': Warning Over Aviation Jobs Follows Stobart Air
All Aer Lingus regional flights operated by Stobart Air have been cancelled after the operator announced it was ceasing trading. Photo: Getty Images.
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A union has warned that hundreds of jobs have been placed at “immediate risk” after all Aer Lingus regional flights operated by Stobart Air were cancelled after the operator announced it had ceased trading.

The announcement has led to the cancellation of a number of flights operating from Dublin and Belfast City airports to Irish and UK cities.

Aer Lingus has since announced a replacement flight schedule for its customers, with alternatives to be available for 10 of the 12 impacted routes.

Neil McGowan of the Siptu union said: “The decision by Stobart Air to cease operations is the latest blow to the aviation industry and airports in Ireland. The move has put hundreds of jobs at immediate risk.

“These routes are of vital importance to these regional airports. It is crucial that these routes are maintained and the Government takes immediate steps to restore these services.”

Pilots

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The Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) has said it is assisting members who have been affected.

President of the union, Evan Cullen, told Newstalk radio that the aviation industry is facing deeper problems than this latest announcement.

“This announcement in Stobart Air comes on top of the hundreds of job losses in Shannon and also in CityJet last year,” he said. “The industry is crumbling beneath our feet.

“If the Government does not put in place the kinds of supports that other European governments have put in place, then there will be further redundancies, job losses and liquidations in the Irish aviation industry.”

Fórsa trade union, which represents 120 cabin crew and pilots with the airline, has also called on the Government to “wake up” to the ongoing crisis in the Irish aviation sector following Stobart Air’s announcement.

The union said staff based in Dublin, Cork and Belfast were “devastated” at hearing the news on Saturday morning, according to The Irish Times.

Restore connectivity

The Government has said that it will work to “restore connectivity” to regional airports affected by Stobart's decision to cease operations.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said his department is developing proposals for the future of Government-funded Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes which operate between Kerry and Dublin and Donegal and Dublin.

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“We’re immediately looking to see what the options are. The Public Service Obligation was due to conclude, the current round of it, in January next year,” he said.

“We’re going to have to look and see now can we do something quicker than that in terms of restoring that connectivity, and our Department is working on that today and tomorrow and we’d expect to go to Government on Tuesday, if not before then, with the proposals as to what we do next.”

The Stobart Air announcement affects flights from Dublin to Kerry, Donegal, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newquay.

Flights from Belfast City Airport to Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Exeter and East Midlands have also been cancelled.

Refund options

Stobart Air has said the decision to appoint a liquidator was taken with “great regret and sadness” and said all 480 staff at the airline have been informed.

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Government aim to 'restore connectivity' to region...
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It cited the pandemic “virtually halt[ing] air travel” as a factor in its decision.

Aer Lingus has urged customers who were booked to travel on flights operated by Stobart Air not come to the airport and to check the Aer Lingus website for updated information on refund or re-booking options.

“Aer Lingus apologises to customers for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation at such short notice of all flights operated by Stobart Air. Aer Lingus is now communicating to customers to advise them of their options for refund or re-booking,” the airline said in a statement.

—Additional reporting by Press Association.

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