AMID reports that Aer Lingus is to transfer its aircraft maintenance operation from Shannon Airport to Dublin, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has said the airline is in “commercial negotiations” that could result in a net gain in jobs locally.
Fianna Fail transport spokesman Timmy Dooley had earlier expressed concern for around 70 jobs at the Shannon operation.
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell, meanwhile, was unaware of any third parties involved in discussions with Aer Lingus but was due to meet Minister Varadkar late on Tuesday.
The airline has declined to comment while the Department of Transport was unable to elaborate on Minister Varadkar’s remarks.
Were Shannon to lose the jobs, it would come as a blow to Government plans to further develop aircraft maintenance and other aviation services at Shannon. This strategy is considered key to the future of the airport by Booz consultants, who have completed a report on Shannon for Minister Varadkar.
Last Friday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Shannon to mark the takeover by Russian airline Transaero of aircraft maintenance firm Air Atlanta Aero Engineering, a deal Mr Kenny said would not only secure 240 existing jobs but create additional employment. In a subsequent interview, Transaero Airlines boss Alexander Krinichanskiy said up to 100 new jobs could be created in the next year. That has sparked speculation that Transaero could be involved in talks to take over the hangar Aer Lingus leases from the DAA for light maintenance at Shannon.
But Transaero Engineering Ireland CEO William McGonagle said this Tuesday that the firm was focused on building up its own operations.
“I’m not in a position to speak for Aer Lingus or the DAA. We are not even a wet week in the country and we are finalising our own plans, which at the moment are focused on filling our own hangar. We are concentrating on our own business and developing our own plans,” Mr McGonagle told the Leader.