Airline passengers to Ireland face chaos this week with Aer Lingus pilots set to go ahead with strike action on Tuesday.
Already the Irish national carrier has admitted that 30,000 travellers will have their flight plans disrupted by the dispute.
But Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has told the Sunday Independent that he has no intention of intervening in the row between management and pilots.
Varadkar has claimed he has ‘nothing’ to bring to the table after the collapse of talks between the two parties at the Irish Labor Court.
“Ultimately, it’s a dispute between the pilots and management that can only be resolved by themselves,” said Varadkar.
“The Government’s mediation and conciliation service remains available to them in the form of the Labor Relations Commission.
“Talks should resume and passengers should not be inconvenienced,” he added.
Aer Lingus management are now preparing contingency plans but it will not be able to operate a full schedule this week.
An Aer Lingus spokesman said: “At this point in time we cannot be certain that we will be able to operate our schedule.
“Aer Lingus received notice earlier this week from the pilot’s trade union IALPA/ Impact of their intention to take industrial action commencing Tuesday June 7. We realize that this is extremely disruptive for our customers,” said the spokesman.
“We have activated our change-for-free facility for customers who have a booking to travel on Tuesday June 7 or Wednesday June 8.
“Services that will not be affected by any dispute should one take place include Aer Lingus’s regional routes, the Washington-Madrid service, and flights to and from Belfast International Airport.
“This dispute is taking place with appalling timing. A series of operational meetings to draw up contingency plans are planned but options such as bringing in extra aircraft and crews are limited because of the busy time of year.”
Irish Consumers Association chief Dermot Jewell has criticized both parties in the row.
Jewell said: “This situation puts prepaid consumers’ arrangements, budget holidays and, in certain cases, jobs in turmoil.”
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