Home » Breaking News » ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’, Aer Lingus CEO told over conditions for funding

‘Beggars can’t be choosers’, Aer Lingus CEO told over conditions for funding

“BEGGARS can’t be choosers” Aer Lingus CEO Lynn Embleton was told on Tuesday, in response to the airline’s repeated demand that the airline not be required to give guarantees on connectivity, in return for taxpayer’s money.
Ms Embleton ruled out any reversal of the decision to close the Shannon cabin crew base, a move that she claimed would actually hinder the resumption of Aer Lingus flights from the airport.
At the meeting Clare TD Joe Carey put it to her that the real reason for the closure, was to get out workers who have been with the company for long periods.
“I’d like you to back up your charge that the cabin crew base in Shannon is inefficient, because that’s your charge.
“Really and truly could you not admit that the only reason you’re targeting Shannon is because of the loyal service that the base has delivered there, because these people are working there between 20 and 34 years,” he said.
Responding, she said Aer Lingus plans to continue with services from Shannon, but that a rethink on the closure of the cabin crew base will not happen.
“As I have said previously and said to Ministers, there is no strategic retreat from Shannon, from the regions, that is not our strategic intent. I hope that we all want the same thing, we want Ireland connected, we want connectivity, we want jobs.
“The decision in Shannon is not a signal of a strategic retreat from the regions. But it is the case there has been no flying from Shannon since March 2020. But it is the case that the cabin crew base was expensive and in fact an impediment to restoring flights.
“This is no reflection at all on the cabin crew themselves, their contribution, their professionalism, it’s a structure of the amount of flying and the schedules that we are able to operate from Shannon, they simply didn’t support an ongoing crew base in a way that was cost effective. When I look at restoring connectivity, restoring flights, the best chance of getting aircraft up in the air is having a cost base that allows us to drive cash back into the business.”
Mr Carey said with Aer Lingus requiring millions in State support, it must be required to preserve US and Heathrow links with Shannon. “You rebut the need for conditionality within any arrangement with Government. Well, I’d say to you Ms Embleton, beggars can’t be choosers.”
She responded that the question of conditionality around further liquidity was “not acceptable” to Aer Lingus, and not in the interests of the communities to burden and restricit an airline that has suffered over this pandemic and wanted to get back on its feet and restore connectivity.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.