Aer Lingus has proposed to terminate the direct New York to Shannon route early next year.

In further cost cutting attempts, which has already seen the loss of 676 jobs, the Irish airline plans to remove its U.S. base at Shannon airport, resulting in a loss of 102 cabin crew positions.

Chief Executive Christoph Mueller announced to over 120 Aer Lingus workers in a presentation on Thursday evening that the airline will instead run a three day a week New York/Shannon service via Dublin which will be staffed by Dublin-based employees.

Reports say Aer Lingus employees were in tears after hearing the decision, which will result in the loss of 75 percent of the Shannon cabin crew staff. The remaining 34 crew members will operate the three times a day Shannon/Heathrow service.

Aer Lingus’s director of corporate affairs Enda Corneille told reports after the announcement, “The job we all we have to do is to ensure that there is a viable future for the company. It is not just about Shannon. It is about Aer Lingus in total.”

“The news today and yesterday has been overwhelming for staff. This has been a very grave time for Aer Lingus and Aer Lingus people,” he added.

The drastic cuts at the airline are part of an attempt to save €97 million. The company reported a €93 million loss for the first six months of 2009.

Corneille revealed that CEO Mueller plans to meet with Shannon Aer Lingus employees again in the near future so that they can share alternative ideas on the jobs cut plan.

Spokesman for the Impact trade union Gerry Clarke told the Irish Times: “There is disappointment because the region seems to be targeted again,” while an anonymous worker told said: “The Shannon New York service is a very good product that has never been properly marketed by the company.”