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Parent Company of Aer Lingus Threatens to Give New Aircraft to Another Airline Unless Pilots Agree Wage Deal

Parent Company of Aer Lingus Threatens to Give New Aircraft to Another Airline Unless Pilots Agree Wage Deal

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The parent company of Aer Lingus has threatened to reallocate new aircraft that were destined for the Irish flag carrier to other airlines which it owns unless pilots at the Dublin-based carrier quickly wrap up contract talks and agree a new wage deal.

Madrid-based International Airlines Group (IAG), which also owns British Airways, Iberia and low-cost Spanish carrier Vueling, has ordered a total of 14 state-of-the-art Airbus A321XLR aircraft, with Aer Lingus expected to receive six and the other eight destined for Iberia.

IAG had boasted that Aer Lingus would be the first to fly the A321XLR, allowing the airline to open up new transatlantic flights beyond the US East Coast and Canada, utilising the plane’s 4,700 nautical miles range – around 15% more than the A321LR (Long Range) which Aer Lingus already operates.

Aer Lingus is expected to use its A321XLR for non-stop flights to Minneapolis-St Paul, while other potential destinations highlighted by IAG include Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati and St Louis.

The A321XLR will be crucial in Aer Lingus’ growth plans over the coming years, but getting its hands on these aircraft is contingent on the airline securing a new wage deal with its pilots.

The Irish Times reports that the airline has warned the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) that unless a wage deal is wrapped up by April 28, their parent company will reallocate the A321XLRs to another subsidiary, such as Iberia.

The airline and union are set to meet at a Labour Court on April 22nd in an attempt to resolve a deadlock over the new contract, but Aer Lingus’ chief operations officer Adrian Dunne says that date might be too late to secure a deal before IAG’s cut off.

Ialpa has agreed to meet airline bosses after the Easter break on Wednesday in an attempt to reach an agreement, but “without prejudice” to the Labour Court hearing.

The union has reportedly demanded a wage increase of around 20% after pilots rejected a much lower offer of just 8.5% in January.

To prove it isn’t just making an idle threat, IAG has already delayed the delivery of the new aircraft and had pushed back the date that the first of the aircraft are due to be painted in Aer Lingus livery from March to early May, the Irish Times reports.

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