Jobs to go at Aer Lingus as profits slide

Jobs to go at Aer Lingus as profits slide By Phil Davies

A fresh round of job cuts was unveiled today by Aer Lingus as it disclosed an 11.6% drop in annual operating profits to €61.1 million in 2013.The airline saw its pre-tax profit slide by 2.2% last year to €39.5 million.

The Irish carrier described the figures as being in line with previous guidance and came as total revenue rose by 2.3% to €1.4 billion.

A two-year ‘Cost Optimisation and Revenue Excellence’ (CORE) programme is to be instigated in the first quarter of this year, including further unspecified job losses to cut costs by €30 million as part of a focus on costs and service.

Passenger carryings declined by 0.3% to 9.625 million from 9.653 million in 2012.

Short-haul revenue was down 3.3% due to extremely good weather in Ireland and Northern Europe during the peak summer period and “increasingly competitive pricing” in the third and fourth quarters of the year.

The airline reported a “very strong” long-haul performance with revenue up 11.1%, passenger numbers up 12.2% and load factor up 0.6 points on increased capacity of 11.6%

Aer Lingus plans long-haul expansion this year with new services to Toronto and San Francisco and increased frequency from Shannon to Boston and New York, aided by the lease of three Boeing 757s from ASL Aviation Group.

Chief executive Christoph Mueller said: “While I am broadly satisfied with our financial performance for 2013, I believe that we could have done better.”

He added: “As part of CORE, we will improve our service offering in 2014. We will re-launch our website with a re-designed online booking portal and improve our mobile app.

“This winter we will upgrade our long-haul business class offering including the introduction of fully horizontal lie-flat seats.

“In addition, we will offer US border pre-clearance from Dublin airport Terminal Two for all of our summer 2014 schedule flights and we will move to the new Queen’s Terminal in London Heathrow, which will offer an enhanced passenger experience.

“These changes will further differentiate Aer Lingus from our competitors, many of whom in recent times are attempting to emulate our ‘value carrier’ proposition.”

Mueller said: We expect the first quarter of 2014 will be weaker than 2013 reflecting market conditions and the timing of Easter. Based on current trading, we expect our operating result for 2014, before net exceptional items, to be broadly in line with 2013.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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