World News

Aer Lingus 'asks staff to move to Britain over Covid uncertainty'

Irish airline Aer Lingus ‘asks staff to move to Britain over coronavirus uncertainty’ as the EU lags behind on vaccinations and faces third wave

  • Ireland’s flag carrier announced it was launching four trans-Atlantic routes 
  • Sinn Fein’s Darren O’Rourke said he had seen ‘deeply concerning’ memo to staff 
  • He blasted the Irish Government’s comparably piecemeal financial support 

Aer Lingus is moving staff to Britain because of the pandemic ‘uncertainty’ threatening Ireland’s travel industry, ministers have been told. 

Ireland’s flag carrier yesterday announced it was launching four trans-Atlantic routes from Manchester Airport in the coming months. 

Sinn Fein politician Darren O’Rourke said he had seen a ‘deeply concerning’ internal memo from the firm asking employees if they want to uproot to England. 

He blamed the Irish Government’s inadequate financial support and lack of a roadmap to revive aviation.

Meanwhile the country is bearing the cost of the EU’s spluttering vaccine rollout that is lagging behind the UK, which has inoculated more than half of its adults.

The Continent has jabbed only about 15 per cent of its citizens and many member states are facing a third wave of the virus.  

The British Government is ploughing ahead with its path to lifting lockdown and is due to publish a review next month on the viability of international travel. 

Aer Lingus is moving staff to Britain because of the lingering pandemic ‘uncertainty’ threatening Ireland’s travel industry, ministers have been told

Meanwhile the country is bearing the cost of the EU’s spluttering vaccine rollout that is lagging behind the UK, which has inoculated more than half of its adults 

Unveiling the expansion of its UK operation, Aer Lingus yesterday laid out plans to fly from Manchester to New York and Orlando from July, Barbados from October and Boston from next year.

It will likely prompt speculation the firm could be looking to take advantage of a mooted US-UK travel corridor that travel leaders say is being considered for June. 

But speaking in the Irish parliament, the Dáil, Mr O’Rourke branded the transfer of jobs from Ireland to Manchester a blow for the workers.

He said: ‘It has been said that this is happening because there is such uncertainty regarding the Irish response and commitment to the aviation sector. It really indicates that those companies want a response from the Government that gives them a clear outline of what the future holds.’

He tore into the Government’s wanting rescue package for airlines, comparing the €200million support to the billions being handed out by other countries.

The lowly jab rate in Ireland reflects the EU’s bungled immunisation drive that has left the Continent more vulnerable to a third wave of coronavirus (Ursula von der Leyen pictured)

A Labour politician also lamented the jobs bloodbath. Duncan Smith said: ‘When four aeroplanes that were resident in Ireland go, they are gone and the jobs will go with them. 

‘Baggage handlers are going. Fuellers are going. They are going in ones, two, sixes and dozens, but they are going. Their livelihoods are gone.’

Minister Hildegarde Naughton said more than €80million had been earmarked specifically for Irish aviation in 2021.

But she acknowledged the critical challenges facing the country’s airlines, saying: ‘There is considerable uncertainty in Europe today. The numbers of people infected with Covid-19 have increased. This is not just an Irish issue, it is a global issue.’

Ireland has weathered the pandemic comparably well, suffering 4,628 deaths and 230,000 cases. 

But the gulf in vaccination rates across the Irish border was laid bare this week when it emerged that residents were travelling from the Republic to the North for jabs.

Around half the adult population has now been inoculated in Northern Ireland , compared to 10 per cent for the Republic. 

The lowly jab rate reflects the EU’s bungled immunisation drive that has left the Continent more vulnerable to a a fresh outbreak. 

Yesterday the EU announced plans for a vaccine export ban to stop doses bound for highly inoculated countries leaving the bloc.

It was thought Britain could be stung by this, but Brussels has appeared to have rowed back from this threat. 

Under Boris Johnson’s roadmap to exit lockdown, non-essential international travel was pencilled for May 17.

But he is facing calls to strengthen border controls to insulate Britain from worrying strains of the virus spreading abroad. 

Paul Charles, boss of the PC travel agency, this week said he understood that phased travel would resume from May, followed by a US-UK travel corridor – meaning no mandatory quarantine – the following month, although this has not been confirmed. 

Aer Lingus has been contacted for comment.

Source: Read Full Article