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Wednesday 15 August 2018

'Any disruption at Ryanair is good for Aer Lingus' - boss

Aer Lingus boss Kavanagh
Aer Lingus boss Kavanagh

Ryanair's recent troubles continue to mount, as Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh warned the airline that anything that damages it is good for his business - and he has vowed to capitalise.

Mr Kavanagh said that Aer Lingus flights are heavily booked at the moment, so the opportunity from Ryanair's current problems isn't significant.

However, he indicated that these difficulties will soon provide opportunities.

"In the longer term, I think you can see a very competitive business and anything that damages Ryanair is ultimately good for Aer Lingus," he said, as the carrier's owner IAG issued results for the second quarter of the year.

He said the airline would capitalise by being disciplined, taking costs out of its business and being competitive.

"Any disruption is regrettable. If that disruption continues, hopefully we'll be in a position to offer a competitive alternative," he said.

"But we're not seeing a significant upside at this point in time, because the capacity we have simply has been sold."

Meanwhile, Norwegian Air said it plans to hire an extra 40 pilots for its Dublin base as it adds more transatlantic flights.

The carrier's recruitment drive comes amid the pilot strikes at competitor Ryanair.

Earlier yesterday, Ryanair proposed third-party mediation to resolve a deepening row about terms and conditions with Ireland-based pilots.

Pilots staged their fourth one-day strike yesterday, with their union, Forsa, scheduling another for August 10, the same day as similar strikes by Ryanair pilots in Belgium and Sweden.

It will be the fifth strike by pilots since July 12.

Blamed

Around 30 pilots and their supporters picketed the airline's headquarters at Swords yesterday with placards and banners.

The airline has blamed pilots from Aer Lingus who, it says, are using the strike to cause the maximum damage to Ryanair.

Ryanair's chief people officer Eddie Wilson said: "Ryanair now feels the only way to introduce common sense is by way of third party mediation, and is suggesting Mr Kieran Mulvey, formerly of the Labour Commission and Workplace Relations Commission."

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