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47 staff cut at Galway Airport as Aer Arann suspends flights

Aer Arann made the surprise decision to suspend its flights at Galway Airport for the winter season from today, which means the majority of airport staff have to be cut.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

STAFF ARE TO BE cut back at Galway Airport after Aer Arann suspended its flights from today for the winter season.

A spokesperson from the airport, Joe Walsh, said that they were looking to let go 47 out of 55 staff, many of whom have worked for the airport since the 1990s.

Aer Arann Regional announced on 12 October that it is to suspend its services at Galway Airport for the winter season with effect from today.

Walsh said:

It is hugely traumatic for our staff, some of whom have been there since the early 1990s, but without scheduled services, as a business we had no choice but to go down to the absolute minimum after the winter season.

He said the decision early last month came as a big surprise to Galway Airport.

We were working with Aer Arann on a winter programme throughout the summer period in terms of getting a programme launched so that we could progress with our own plans getting into 2012.
That has its own challenges given the government decision on June 23 to cease supporting Galway and Sligo airports from 2012 onwards.

It would be “virtually impossible” for the airport to get a new carrier to bring flights to the site at such short notice this winter.

The airport will now remain operational at category two, which caters for light aircraft, and they will also step up the category if more resources are required for bigger air charter operations or Aer Arann maintenance positions.

Aer Arann’s maintenance base is in Galway.

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“Hopefully an opportunity will present itself next summer, if it’s Aer Arann or another company,” said Walsh.

If it’s a cycle, and if you look back to the early 90s, the airport went through a similar cycle, [so this] is our most significant challenge since the early years of the airport.  In the last five years, 1 million people passed through Galway Airport – that is not insignificant.

The Board of Galway Airport said it is committed to the continued operation of the airport and the future development of air services for Galway and the region.

The airport and staff are currently engaged in consultations on the redundancies, which have been ongoing since 20 October.

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