Friday, October 19, 2007

Aer Lingus strike averted - Pilots approve Belfast deal

Aer Lingus logoEarlier this week, pilots at Aer Lingus called off a strike that could have grounded the airline's entire fleet, seriously disrupting air service between Britain and Ireland. In dispute was the airline's intention to hire pilots for a new hub in Belfast under terms that differed from terms for pilots flying out of Dublin.

The pilots' union, the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), and Aer Lingus management were able to come to an agreement at the last minute regarding the airline's plans for a new Belfast base. Today the Irish Times reports that 80% of the pilots voted in favor of the new proposals:
Under the deal agreed, pilots employed at bases outside Dublin will only be appointed on the basis of seniority.

Pilots at the Belfast operation will be recruited on local pay and conditions and similar arrangements will apply to other bases established overseas in the future.

A separate pension scheme will apply for pilots recruited for Belfast. But pilots in the Republic moving to the North on secondment will retain their existing pension scheme.

Promotions to the rank of aircraft captain at bases internationally in the future will be on the basis of the existing Aer Lingus seniority list rather than by direct entry competition.
Aer Lingus has plans to open the new Belfast base in January of 2008.