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Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller said the first three months of 2010 had been "challenging" for the airline. Photocall Ireland
Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus may have to consider further job cuts

The airline says the continued weakness of the Irish economy means its profits won’t be as high as first expected.

AER LINGUS may consider cutting further jobs in a bid to cut costs, as it revealed that its profits for 2011 would not be as high as first projected.

In a statement this morning, the airline’s chief executive Christoph Mueller said the airline had seen a “challenging” start to the year, with operations significantly hit by industrial disputes with cabin crew in January and February.

When combined with the continued weakness of the Irish economy, which the airline said had taken its toll on leisure travel, the company’s profits would be significant lower than were projected last year.

Mueller was speaking as his airline released quarterly results showing that the airline’s revenue fell by 4.8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2010.

Operating losses increased too, from €37.9m last year to €53.7m.

Aer Lingus’s statement did not indicate what cost-cutting measures the airline might consider; so far the airline has saved €71.9m, mostly through cutting staff numbers.

There was some good news for the airline, however, which reported increased passenger traffic for the month of April – with short-haul numbers up by 19.3 per cent on the same month last year, and long-haul numbers up by 14.3 per cent.

Load factor was down by 4.9 per cent across the fleet when compared to April 2010.

The airline did acknowledge that the stats did not compare like-for-like, due to the ash cloud disruptions of April 2010 and the fact that the traditionally busy Easter period fell in April 2011, having been in March in 2010.

Shares in the airline were unchanged at 83c in Dublin this morning.

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