Picture: Rudolph the red-nosed 737

Engineers at the Thomson Airways hangar in Luton have presented a festive Boeing 737-800.

December 2: Just to prove there’s still some cheer within the airline industry, engineers at the Thomson Airways hangar in Luton presented a festive Boeing 737-800.

The aircraft will be used for a First Choice and Thomson Airways flight on December 10 that will send 100 children, parents and teachers to Lapland on behalf of the Family Holiday Association charity.

Aer Lingus threatens more redundancies

Aer Lingus says that it has “narrowed the gap with most union groups” but savings offered haven’t gone far enough.

December 2: Irish airline Aer Lingus says that it has “narrowed the gap with most union groups” on its radical Transformation Plan in an effort to cut costs and remove “legacy work practices,” but savings offered haven’t gone far enough.

Faced with heavy losses of €73.9 million in the first six months of this year, the company “must continue to reduce any costs within its control so that it can cope with continued falling fares.” As part of the Plan, the airline is selling some of its aircraft, terminating leases on others and deferring the purchase of three Airbus A330s and two A350s.

But the airline’s biggest challenge is to push through compulsory redundancies – Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive, said: “Only temporary savings over a short few years were offered by is the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) and cabin crew. The majority of our staff understands that we need to make significant and urgent change; if successful, we can keep staff numbers closer to current levels.

“However, in the absence of real cost savings from all employee groups, we will have to resort to other measures. We will now move to reduce capacity, further eliminating loss-making routes, which will result in the operation of fewer aircraft, leading to additional redundancies beyond those included in the Transformation Plan. It is very likely that these redundancies will commence immediately and will be compulsory.”

Finnair hit by second strike in month

Just two weeks after resolving industrial action by aircrew, Finnair has been hit by another strike.

December 1: Just two weeks after resolving industrial action by aircrew, Finnair has been hit by a strike by ground handling staff, resulting in the cancellation of many flights.

The walk-out coincided with the airline releasing a statement saying that its ground handling business company Northport had agreed to transfer its baggage and apron services at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to the Barona Group, affecting about 490 employees.

“Instead of part-time work, Barona will be able to offer more full-time work at the airport and its vicinity,” said Finnair’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Lasse Heinonen. “Northport has been loss-making for years.”

In addition the warehouse activities of Finnair Cargo Terminal Operations at Helsinki-Vantaa have been transferred to Suomen Transval Oy, affecting 130 workers. “The new operators will offer employees more flexible and diverse work,” added Heinonen. “We are seeking for more efficiency for our business. By creating strategic partnerships we can change our fixed costs into variable costs and focus on core business.”

Tuesday’s strike led to 35 flights being cancelled, delaying 4,000 passengers, said the airline.