Wed, 28 Jul 2021

Aer Lingus operating far below capacity, says CEO Embleton

Robert Besser
24 Jun 2021, 03:40 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland: Aer Lingus officials have said that recovery from the Covid pandemic will take some time before the airline resumes normal operations.

Aire Lingus CEO Lynne Embleton said the airline's operations in Ireland will remain smaller "for some time to come" and it "will take a long time to fully recover".

She made her statements while appearing before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks on Tuesday.

While Aer Lingus operated 40 short-haul aircraft before the pandemic struck, today the airline only schedules flights on 30 planes, "with many of those not seeing much utilization on a daily basis", Embleton said.

As for Aer Lingus' 19 long haul aircraft, "they're not working very hard either," Embleton admitted.

Embleton also reported that there were discussions about services at regional airports at Tuesday's meeting, but she said, "We must not let that distract us from the overall impact on aviation, on connectivity and connecting the island of Ireland".

Embleton also said that the airline's expansion in Manchester would not have a negative impact on Ireland.

The politicians also heard that the majority of Stobart Air Routes will be handled by Aer Lingus until at least the end of August.

However, Embleton said that these routes were more appropriate for smaller aircraft.

Stobart Air recently went out of business.

Aer Lingus is now in discussions with Emerald Airlines to take over that service, she told Senator Jerry Buttimer.

Embleton also told the committee that Covid travel restrictions represent a "critical risk to aviation jobs and connectivity."

In her opening statement, Embleton called for the introduction of rapid antigen tests and was critical of "onerous" travel restrictions between the UK and Ireland.

She also asked that U.S. and UK passengers who arrive in Ireland after 19 July be treated the same as those traveling under the EU Digital Covid Certificate regime.

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