Aer Lingus pilots have since given notice to the company that industrial action could begin from 07-Jun-2011 (Irish Examiner, 31-May-2011). The pilots, members of the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), took issue with Aer Lingus over rostering arrangements and claim they are being "stretched to the limit". IALPA previously stated that if members vote in favour, it will activate action if Aer Lingus management continues to fail to produce and implement a “sustainable manpower plan to address issues”. It has been reported that the pilots are currently open for discussions to resolve the issues. Industiral action was backed by 87% of pilots balloted and is expected to affect services between Cork and Dublin. Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Muller said it could lead to a full cancellation of operations from next Tuesday. Aer Lingus and IALPA have accepted an invitation to talks by the Labour Relations Commission in a bid to avert threatened industrial action by pilots (RTE Online, 31-May-2011). Up to 30,000 people could be effected on a daily basis if the action goes ahead.
Aer Lingus pilots may take industrial action on 07-Jun-2011
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For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
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Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.
IAG plans long haul low cost from Barcelona and mulls a new dedicated brand
IAG has detailed plans to start long haul low cost airline flights from Barcelona to the US, Latin America and Asia in Jun-2017. The project involves two Airbus A330s and will create up to 250 new jobs. Tickets for the first destinations are expected to be on sale by Feb-2017 or Mar-2017.
One of the key outstanding issues is which IAG airline brand will operate the flights. In an interview published on 22-Dec-2016 by La Vanguardia, the widely read and respected Barcelona newspaper, CEO Willie Walsh said that IAG may create a new brand for the project. British Airways, Iberia or even Aer Lingus – which has the lowest unit cost among IAG's long haul airlines – are also possibilities. However, Vueling "will continue in its strategy of European flights".
Among Europe's big three legacy airline groups, IAG is the only one not to have announced long haul low cost plans previously, although its LCC strategy has been the most successful in short/medium haul. Plans by the LCC Norwegian to launch long haul routes from Barcelona in 2017 may have had a catalytic effect on IAG's thinking. In the past IAG has been proactive in creating new platforms, while this move appears a little more reactive.