Two items of (much needed) good news for Irish aviation this morning:
- Ryanair is to increase capacity significantly from Dublin, possibly by up to 40%. The initial capacity increase is to be on existing routes, but it is expected to announce new routes from DUB later this Summer.
- Aer Lingus has finally done a deal with cabin crew and pilot unions, which will (as a first step) allow the airline to cancel the withdrawal of the MCO servivce, which had been planned for next January. It will allow Aer Lingus to reduce the number of cabin crew on its A330-300s from ten to eight (presumably to seven on the 332?) and increase pilot duty time to 9h30 with a single crew (again, I presume this allows EI to use a single crew from DUB to MCO).
The EI deal can't come too soon, with EI soon to face new competition from FR (there are also positive consequences for short haul route costs); the costs deal has been delayed by six months due to ongoing negotiations.
FR, of course, doesn't negotiate with unions, although it's heading for what might well be an explosive confrontation with pilots as it seeks to withdraw 737-200s in September; the senior DUB based pilots aren't accepting the FR "proposal" that they pay for their own training and FR has been threatening to base them all in Lubeck (presumably because it doesn't yet have a base in Siberia!). Watch this space!
Interesting times ahead in Irish aviation.