With news that Aer Lingus’ first-half losses almost quadrupled last year’s comes reports that Ireland’s second biggest airline may give up on Ireland-U.S. flights and contract out to a third party.
The Irish airline, which will soon release its newest cost restructuring plan, reported a loss of €93 million ($132 million), compared to a €23.4 million ($34.2) loss last year. Sales fell 12 percent to €555 ($812) million, with average fares down 17 percent.
Aer Lingus’ new chief executive, Christoph Mueller, has said that the airline needs an “amputation,” not “cosmetic surgery” to reduce costs, and that long-haul flights to the U.S., especially those from Shannon, are under fire. Transatlantic services accounted for around €60 million of first-half losses.
Mueller stated that he appreciates the “national importance” of Aer Lingus’ American routes, but said that his airline is “not a charity,” suggesting that the Shannon to New York route has only survived due to pressure from the Irish government.
Reports say Mueller is hesitant to run any further money-losing services from Shannon at a time when Aer Lingus staff are being laid off or asked to take a pay cut.
The chief executive rated Aer Lingus’s odds of survival at “50-50.”
Aer Lingus’ cost-cutting plan will be unveiled in mid to late October after the Lisbon vote, so as not to further complicate matters for the Irish government.