Hangar 6 – what are the facts?

Along with the resignation of 2 Government ministers the big story of the past 3 weeks has been the issue’s surrounding Hangar 6 and the promise of 300 jobs by Ryanair. On Wednesday 24th February I sat down and watched the joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport with great interest, two hours later I was very clear on Ryanair position, but less so of Aer Lingus, DAA and found out nothing about the Government position.

On Tuesday night Prime Time offered to give us the facts behind Hangar 6, again we got a repeat of Michael O Leary’s position. Prime Time’s failure to secure a government minister rendered this debate useless and Prime Time gave us no real insight on the real facts. It also confirmed the Government has no interest in O Leary’s offer even at this late stage.

It’s clear there is no love lost between Ryanair, successive Fianna Fáil led Governments, DAA and Aer Lingus. Serious questions remain unanswered on the part of the Government or the DAA on why these 500 Ryanair jobs could not have been secured for Dublin Airport, even given that Hangar 6 was crucial to O Leary’s offer. At a time when there are more than 437,000 people unemployed of which 900 are aircraft maintenance technicians.

Michael O’Leary (however brash he is) runs one of the world’s most successful airlines, the latest passenger traffic rose 6% in February compared to the corresponding month in 2009 to 4.37 million, a remarkable fate given the current financial climate. Yet the many elements of the media continue to scorn the undeniable success of Ryanair’s and of its intentions to “really” deliver these jobs, something the Government has conveniently used to cover their own mishandling or unwillingness to secure these 500 jobs.

On the other hand Aer Lingus have not announced the creation of one additional job at Hangar 6 and are currently in discussion with staff on redundancies of 1,100 of the current staff some of which will very likely be in aircraft maintenance. Aer Lingus CEO, Christoph Mueller has stated that its heavy maintenance lease currently carried out in France could not be revised for another 3 years.

Much was made by members at the transport committee of O Leary’s decision to pull planes out of Shannon & yet they failed to acknowledge that Aer Lingus moved its planes from its Shannon base to Belfast. Both of these were commercial decisions and there is no saying that down the road that if O Leary had secured Hangar 6 he may choose to leave in the future, but right now the country need jobs.

Many issues have remained unanswered by Government and Dublin Airport Authority, something the media have failed to fully investigate.

  • Was there a competition for Hangar 6?
  • Why if Ryanair made an offer to buy/lease Hangar 6 in early 2009 when it was empty did DAA sign a deal Aer Lingus in Dec 2009, without creating a single job?
  • Why has Aer Lingus /DAA have not published the terms of the lease for Hangar 6?
  • How come the media have failed to produce a single image of these late night works carried out at Hangar 6?
  • Media report that the lease is 2.5 million per year if so how can Aer Lingus afford with losses of 100million for last year, was a special done just to keep Ryanair out?
  • Can this lease be legally broken?
  • Why did the Government not use its 25% strategic share in Aer Lingus plus Ryanair 29% share to force Aer Lingus to move to other suitable hangars at the airport, last year to secure 500 jobs if hangar 6 was the only condition attached?

On the surface the handling of the Ryanair offer appears to have been abysmal by all parties. It does appear that there was collusion between Government DAA and Aer Lingus to keep Ryanair out even at the loss of 500 jobs. It also appear strange that Aer Lingus plans to centralise staff operations was announced on the day before the Transport committee called both O Leary & Mueller to appear. Of course Michael O Leary would use any opportunity to show up the government’s incompetence but in this instance I believe he was right. The real question is how may other job offers have been made by foreign companies that have fell through the cracks of a very ineffective Minister and Department. It does appear that Government and public in general believe that the creation of a Ryanair job is worh less that any other comapny Irish or foreign.

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Categories: General Views

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4 replies

  1. Would like to point out that Ryanair did not confirm Irish jobs being created at Dublin airport which were also not involving payment from the Irish government,to make these jobs possible.
    Look at Scotland were Ryanair went to,Prestwich Aircraft Maintenance with a 1,5 million grant to Ryanair from Scottish Enterprise..Scottish Enterprise do not hold records on how many Scottish jobs were created.
    You continue to press the view that Ryanair;s creation of jobs in Ireland is greatly impressive which is simple not true.Less than 30% of Ryanair employees are Irish with over 70% of Aer Lingus employees being Irish…
    Aer Lingus are truly an Irish company with a high volume of Irish employees..

    As for Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus and David Bonderman;s bid for Stanted Airport,if both happen which is very unlikely,Irish airports will be a ghost town with many Irish jobs being lost…..

    .

    • Thanks for your comments Jonny,

      Regardless of what you say companies exist to make a profit, and in doing one expects they treat their workforce fairly in the process. On the list of issues you raise over payments and taxes there are labour laws in each country and companies are also bound by European laws. The European commission are always eager to take on any company exploiting its laws, point made with a recent case against Google.
      On the Mayday calls they occur every week, but it does appear when a Ryanaiar plane is involved its front page news. My understand is all them relate to a sever weather storm over Spain and there were other airlines that made similar calls?
      On the publicity its not the attention O’Leary or Rayanir gets in the media as I would say more than 50% is negative, but they fact that they fly to more destinations, more frequently and if booked in time you should get a good deal. I think its fairly straight forward and why people continue to fly Ryanair even on routes with competition. I am not pro or anti any airline, it just appears to me the larger monopolies who charges outrageous air fares through out the 80’s and 90’s don’t like competition.
      Thanks again for your comments.https://tomtdowling.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

      • Yes labour laws are in place in Ireland. employees who have worked above 12 months.that is…Under 12 month is a different story for that reason a high % of probationary Ryanair cabin crew are terminated before a 12 month period at Ryanair..Yes mayday will occur every week in aviation,but 3 in one day from the same airline has never happened before..Ryanair are happy with most negative publicity but are never happy talking about employment issues that relates to Termination levels or levels of Irish jobs Ryanair create…
        Let us not forget,the Ryan family owned and set up Ryanair years ago,now it is an Irish registered Airline run by a Texas Billionaire ”DAVID BONDERMAN” who O’Leary answers to..As for competition in Low cost Easyjet brought the high fairs down and Ryanair took a step further in offering 10 euro flights any place in Europe but paying cabin crew 10 euro a flight..Are we all fools in thinking cheap flights from Ryanair do not come at a cost to others…..

    • Jonny,

      Its probably true that only 30% of Ryanair staff are Irish, and 70% of Aer Lingus are Irish, what exactly does that tell us? my wife is not Irish but pays all her taxes in Ireland. Given that the majority of Ryanair bases are outside of Ireland I would expect they recruit close to their bases.

      I presume the other 30% of the “non Irish” Aer lingus staff are either based in London or Belfast whom I believe were employed on a lower rate to the rest of its staff? (but that a unions treat some are more equal than others)

      Both Ryanair and O’Leary pay taxes in Ireland which is more than can be said to the many big business men who fly in and out of Switzerland, Portugal and other places to avoid paying taxes in Ireland so on that one they both have my greatest respect.

      As for Aer Lingus your reference to it as “a truly Irish company” made me laugh little, through out the 70’s 80’s it ripped off the Irish travelers with high air fares most of them working travelling back and fort to London through the last recession. My Grandfather was paying over £250 for a ticket to London in the early 80’s. What’s more the Irish Government shoveled taxpayers money to pay Aer Lingus staff premium wages and given to outrageous pensions and perks, while the rest of the country was fleeing a meltdown. Anytime it didn’t get its way it bought the country to its knees with Strikes. Even Bertie supped up to the unions all through the 90’s when there was some chance the Government could have made money from its share in the company even turning down and late offer from Willie Walsh who was subsequently snapped up by British Airways.

      Aer Lingus will inevitability be taken over unable to make changes quickly enough as it’s past will catch up with it, its most unlikely it will be Ryanair but who ever gets it will take it apart, sell on it landing slots and probably use it to feed their own operation, it US links will be attractive.

      It’s not what Ryanair are doing, but many airlines didn’t and couldn’t react quick enough to market changes and will become the equivalent of the dinosaurs. Are Ryanair really the bad guys here?

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