THERE WILL BE “significant” job losses at Galway airport following Aer Arann’s decision to axe its winter flight schedule, the airport’s managing director has said.
The airline announced today that it would suspend all flights from the end of October, citing a “significant reduction in fare revenues” and saying services from Galway were loss-making. The move will leave the airport without any scheduled flights whatsoever over the winter.
Aer Arann said it regretted the decision, and was committed to talks with Galway Airport about resuming services next April.
Airport managing director Joe Walsh said between 150 and 160 people are employed at the facility, including those working for third-party services such as car hire, taxi and retail firms, and the airport employs 55 people directly. He told TheJournal.ie that Aer Arann’s announcement would have a “huge impact” on staff.
“We’ll be looking at a significant reduction in staff. The exact number we’re still working on,” he said.”It’s a huge impact on staff and their families, and we’re very concerned about that. There will also be other impacts in terms of associated services.”
He said the airport’s operations would be “downgraded” over the winter as it would only cater to charter and executive flights.
Independent TD Noel Grealish told TheJournal.ie that the government’s decision earlier this year to suspend subsidies to Galway Airport had put as many as 180 jobs at risk. “I’m very disappointed by the announcement, but I’m not surprised,” he said. “The government’s decision not to continue funding the airport left its future in doubt. That was borne out today.”
Grealish, who attempted to raise the potential job losses in the Dáil this morning, but was ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle, said he had personally appealed to Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to commit to keeping the airport open. That commitment was not given, he said. “That was the death knell for the airport itself,” he added.