Aer Lingus pilots' action 'will cause cancellations'

Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus pilots are due to take industrial action on Wednesday 26 June [Reuters]

Flight cancellations are inevitable if planned industrial action by Aer Lingus pilots goes ahead next week, the airline has said.

On Tuesday, the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) served notice of an indefinite work-to-rule from 26 June as part of an ongoing pay dispute.

Pilots who are members of the IALPA voted 99% in support of action, up to and including a strike.

Aer Lingus's chief corporate affairs officer, Donal Moriarty, told Irish broadcaster RTÉ that the impact of next week's industrial action will be significant.

"It will definitely trigger cancellations and it's likely to be cumulative with the level of cancellation increasing as time goes by, so it will definitely be significant," he said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime programme, he said that the action is "designed for maximum negative impact on customers".

"It's designed to significantly disrupt, particularly with the provision preventing changes to rosters," Mr Moriarty said.

"So inevitably we are going to see some cancellations and perhaps growing levels of cancellations, day by day."

He called on members of IALPA to engage with them via the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), which he said they have so far refused to do.

Pilots 'won't back down'

IALPA members voted overwhelmingly to reject a Labour Court recommendation that pilots should receive pay increases totalling 9.25% as part of an interim settlement.

The figure was well below the 23.8% that the pilots are seeking.

Aer Lingus has described the level of increases being sought as "exorbitant, outrageous and untenable".

IALPA has said previous pay offers have failed to take account of inflation, the big profits being made by Aer Lingus and the sacrifices made by pilots to sustain the airline during the Covid pandemic.

On Monday, the president of the IALPA, Captain Mark Tighe, said Aer Lingus management had to "understand the strength of feeling" and "see that the pilots will not back down".