Aer Lingus has experienced a 16% downturn in income in the first three months of 2009, compared with the same period in 2008, and as a result the budget airline announced last month that it would be looking at various options to cut costs.
News of cuts at Belfast and Dublin has now been made public but staff have been assured by Enda Corneille, the commercial director, that this will not result in any job losses.
The routes being axed are Belfast to Barcelona, Faro, Rome, Paris and Milan which will mean that the number of aircraft operating from Belfast will be able to be reduced from three to two. At least one aircraft will also be lost at Dublin but the airline has not yet announced which routes will be affected.
The airline’s millionth passenger from Belfast is expected to travel shortly and Aer Lingus has stressed its commitment to the airport which is the first outside the Irish Republic for the budget carrier.
The cuts will take effect from this winter and last until March next year, when it is hoped they will be reinstated. The measures are obviously due in part to the current economic climate but the airline has been quick to point out that it is also normal practice for airlines at that time of year.
The airline is confident that during the winter months demand will still be high for holidays to sunny destinations and so will still operate flights to such destinations as Malaga, Lanzarote and Tenerife.