Aer Lingus CFO resigns, while talks with pilot unions fail: Europe share wrap

Aer Lingus CFO, Sean Coyle, announced his resignation from the airline “by mutual agreement” at the end of 2009.

Mr Coyle, a former Ryanair executive, joined the company in Aug-2008. He will also resign his position as a member of the Aer Lingus Board. Aer Lingus’ shares jumped 1.7% yesterday.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus CEO, Christoph Mueller, cautioned that the carrier risks being taken over by Ryanair if it is unable to reduce costs and successfully negotiate with its unions. The carrier added that savings offered by the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association (IALPA) fell “significantly below” what is required. IALPA confirmed that Aer Lingus rejected a cost reduction package proposed by the pilots which would have amounted to EUR33 million p/a, through a combination of pay reductions and freezes and a 12-15% reduction in pilot numbers.

Aer Lingus has advised the Irish Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister that it would seek 1,065 compulsory redundancies if it fails to reach agreement on its EUR97 million cost-cutting plan with its trade unions.

Lufthansa traffic boosted by new subsidiaries

The Lufthansa Group saw a 24.3% increase in passenger traffic in Nov-2009, with its traffic report now including Austrian Airlines and British Midland. The Group’s load factor was down 0.9 ppts to year-on-year to 75.1%.

Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and SWISS both increased their passenger traffic by 1.2% and 3.4% year-on-year, respectively. Lufthansa reported a load factor reduction (-0.9 ppts to 75.1%), while SWISS reported an improvement (+3.0 ppts to 80.4%).

Shares in Lufthansa declined 0.9% yesterday.

Austrian Airlines: Passenger volume levelling out

Austrian Airlines reports passenger numbers declined 2.2% year-on-year to 741,200 in Nov-1009, while load factor remained virtually flat (+0.2 ppts) to 72.4%. Members of the Executive Board, Andreas Bierwirth and Peter Malanik, reported the “downward trend in passenger volume is slowly levelling out", adding "the economic framework conditions remain extremely difficult, however, because yields are still coming under strong pressure”.

Austrian's shares surged 11.3%.

Finnair: Passenger numbers cut by 21.3%

Shares in Finnair closed 1.1% lower yesterday, as the carrier released its traffic highlights for Nov-2009. Load factor dipped just 0.8 ppts to 73.2%, while passenger numbers dropped 21.3% year-on-year in Nov-2009. Cargo volumes showed an improvement, rising 1.8% year-on-year for the month.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 09-Dec-09