gwyire
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:06 pm

Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:59 pm

This article appeared in Sunday business post and if true is shameful behavior, from our National carrier.

Aer Lingus demanded money up front from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly more than 80 Irish people home last week, following their evacuation from Lebanon.

Aer Lingus demanded money up front from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly more than 80 Irish people home last week, following their evacuation from Lebanon.

Department officials, who spent most of last weekend organising the Irish government’s first ‘mercy mission’, were taken aback by the demand, according to a well-placed source.

Relations between department officials and Aer Lingus management deteriorated further when a credit card payment to cover the cost could not be processed.

An Aer Lingus spokeswoman said it was company protocol to process payments before flights were boarded.

‘‘The department offered a credit card payment in the region of €35,000, but there was a problem with the transaction going through, possibly because it was in Arabian dirham.

‘‘However, members of the senior management team at Aer Lingus, who dealt with the department officials, agreed the department could be invoiced instead, and as far as we are concerned there is no issue here,” the spokeswoman said.

However, a well-informed source told The Sunday Business Post: ‘‘There were some heated exchanges over the phone. The officials were explaining that the Department of Foreign Affairs was good for the money and that, at the end of the day, Aer Lingus was a state-backed airline.”

Foreign Affairs minister Dermot Ahern ordered the evacuation to safeguard Irish nationals.

The total cost of the evacuation operation is estimated at €100,000, including the hire of a Gulf Air plane for €45,000.

The government expects another 80 Irish citizens to return home from Beirut this weekend.
 
shamrock104
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:14 pm

Am I missing something here?
How is it 'shameful' to ask to be paid for a service you are providing?

Seems to me Aer Lingus (or any other 'business - because that's what it is at the end of the day, no matter what SIPTU or anyone else stuck in the last century may think) has every right to be paid for its services up front. Evacuation or no evacuation. The flight formed part of an overall evacuation of Irish (and some non Irish) citizens. Service was provided form DXB to DUB. Last time I checked Dubai wasn't a war zone.

At the end of the day, the Deptartment of Foreign Affairs has a choice, they chose to use Aer Lingus, so why they automatically assume they could defer payment just because (at the moment) Aer Lingus is state owned is a matter of their own arrogance.
 
EI321
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:27 pm

I cant see any big deal here. Most airlines would probabaly do the same.
 
7LBAC111
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:31 am

Quoting GWYIRE (Thread starter):
Aer Lingus demanded money up front from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly more than 80 Irish people home last week, following their evacuation from Lebanon.

Aer Lingus demanded money up front from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly more than 80 Irish people home last week, following their evacuation from Lebanon.

He clearly thought it so bad, that he had to post it twice! Big grin

7L
Debate is what you put on de hook when you want to catch de fish.
 
trex8
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:41 am

most commercial entities which provide a service to a government entity do not expect to be paid upfront as a government entities credit is usually considered solid, the issuance, or even just commitment to issue at some date a purchase order by the government entity or even the sending of an invoice to the government entity is usually the usual means of conducting business. Not that government entities do not default or delay on payment, but it is unusual to demand "cash upfront" from a sovereign national government especially for an emergency situation. if nothing else its piss poor public relations in potentially life and death situations like this.
 
ChiGB1973
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:57 am

In a somewhat related "scam," if you will, Wal-mart does not pay for goods until they are sold from their stores. I equate that to me buying something at Wal-Mart, but not having to pay for it until I use it at home. It's my own little peeve with Wal-Mart, yet, I still shop there because they are the least expensive.

EI, though I have had terrible customer service experiences with them, should get paid for such a mission in a timely manner. They are taking a plane out of revenue service, service they have been pre-paid to fly, to fly these missions. EI and all airlines at this point must get what they can as soon as they can. I agree that these missions also can't stand much time wasting, but EI has priorities/responsibilities.

I would probably be willing to pay $50-$100 more to fly anyone but EI, but when it comes down to dollars and cents, the least expensive wins.

As usual, I go all over the place with my post, but I hope everyone can makes heads/tails of what I have said and how it applies.

M
 
LAXintl
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:08 am

Its pretty traditional in the airline industry that planes dont move unless the money is in the bank when it comes to charters.

Not that the Irish Govt is a credit risk or likely to default but most charter contracts are simply established to have money in the bank for a flight/series of flights operate. Nothing more nothing less.

Dont see what EI asked for as being at all outside commercial norms.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
EI787
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:10 am

Quoting ChiGB1973 (Reply 5):
They are taking a plane out of revenue service, service they have been pre-paid to fly, to fly these missions.

It was actually a scheduled flight from DXB. There were other regular passengers travelling on the flight.
 
ChiGB1973
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:27 am

Quoting EI787 (Reply 7):
It was actually a scheduled flight from DXB. There were other regular passengers travelling on the flight.

At least the plane was flying the route anyway. Sorry, missed this part of the story. Glad they were able to get people out of there.

M
 
positiverate
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 1:50 am

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 4):
if nothing else its piss poor public relations in potentially life and death situations like this.

What "life and death" situation would that be? They're in Dubai for crying out loud. No one is in any danger.

Quoting Trex8 (Reply 4):
as a government entities credit is usually considered solid

You clearly have never done business with governments. There's numerous cases (in the US as recently as the CRAF program) where companies and airlines have had a bear of a time getting reimbursed for services they have provided to the government. Furthermore, in some cases where the government is insolvent (like the Argentine peso crisis a few years ago), it just makes sense to ask for upfront payment.
 
cardiffairtaxi
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:13 am

Quoting Shamrock104 (Reply 1):
Am I missing something here?
How is it 'shameful' to ask to be paid for a service you are providing?

I provide road transport for so called `BIG` companies and civil servants,and believe me,they are the hardest people to get money off.The bigger they are,the longer they take!I have no issue at all with Aer Lingus over this.At the end of the day,they have staff to pay and aircraft leases,fuel etc.
 
Beaucaire
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:17 am

Germany is offering free fares to it's citizens being evacuated from Lebanon...
Please respect animals - don't eat them...
 
cgnnrw
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:34 am

Hmmmm, let's see what happens when EI is on the brink of bankruptcy and they turn to the Irish Gov't for assistance. Do think the gov't will hold a grudge? Nah, the gov't will probably be glad to give a private company Irish taxpayers hardearned money to cover up their bad business decisions.
A330 man.
 
lobster
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:14 am

Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 12):
cover up their bad business decisions

It would be a bad business decisions NOT to get payed. I don't see anything wrong with this. Provide a service, get paid for said service. Is this not how the "business world" works?
 
halls120
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:24 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 9):
You clearly have never done business with governments. There's numerous cases (in the US as recently as the CRAF program) where companies and airlines have had a bear of a time getting reimbursed for services they have provided to the government. Furthermore, in some cases where the government is insolvent (like the Argentine peso crisis a few years ago), it just makes sense to ask for upfront payment.

Concur. Governments don't always have the best record when it comes to paying for services rendered.

One of the reasons the USG gave operating agencies a GSA Master Card is because many small vendors can't wait for the months it sometimes takes the government to pay its bills.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
FireFly
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:57 pm

Quoting ChiGB1973 (Reply 5):
n a somewhat related "scam," if you will, Wal-mart does not pay for goods until they are sold from their stores.

Both "scams" you mention are not, in fact, scams. A scam is when you receive an email promising you riches if you turn over your bank account # so they can deposit said riches in your account. EI, if I may make a wild guess, had to pay for the fuel for the aircraft, labor for pilots and crew, and landing fees when they arrived at DUB or where ever they are headed. I doubt their suppliers offered, because of the "humanitarian" nature of the flight, to carry the payments until the airline ponied up what they owed.

As to Wal-Mart; many, if not every large chain grocer practices in the same manner. When a pear farmer sells his product to a co-op, the co-op stores the pear until a grocer agrees to buy it. The co-op delivers it to the store's warehouse, where the store then transports it to their retail operation. When it sells, they pay the co-op, who then pays the farmer, minus their storage, shipping, and whatever other fees and expenses they can come up with. If the pear sits at the store and rots, the store pays no one. The co-op, instead of paying the farmer, sends the farmer a bill for their storage and shipping costs, and any expenses are subtracted from whatever profit is owed to the farmer for his whole crop. The practice goes on every day of the year (in the US) and is injurious to the farmer. But the idea that this practice is limited to WalMart is incorrect.
The farmer's only other choice is to sell his product at a "farmer's market", or directly to a restaurant or to a local produce vendor, provided the vendor agrees. If you or anyone else is interested, a book you could read is "Fields Without Dreams", by Victor Davis Hanson, a fifth generation San Joaquin Valley family farmer (and professor).

Quoting Cardiffairtaxi (Reply 10):
The bigger they are,the longer they take!I have no issue at all with Aer Lingus over this.At the end of the day,they have staff to pay and aircraft leases,fuel etc.

I too, have tried to collect from bureauracracies, and am in agreement. Usually the bigger the hurry an agency is in to buy something, the slower they are to pay for it.
"Bury me at sea, boys; where no murdered ghosts can haunt me" MacGowan
 
bennett123
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:13 pm

I get paid at the end of the month. In other words I do the work and get paid later.

I find it hard to credit that EI pays all it's bills in cash.
 
smokeyrosco
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:19 pm

If you went on any airlines website and you bought a ticket, you pay for it up front why should the government be any different?
John Hancock
 
stormbringer
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:28 pm

Quoting Smokeyrosco (Reply 17):
If you went on any airlines website and you bought a ticket, you pay for it up front why should the government be any different?

Because if the government isn't good for the money then who is? Me, they're not so sure about.

Didn't the Irish government put billions into EI over the years?
It's not road rage. It's COURTESY ENFORCEMENT.
 
smokeyrosco
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:20 pm

Quoting Stormbringer (Reply 18):
Didn't the Irish government put billions into EI over the years?

The Irish government hasn't put anything into EI in many years as it is against EU regulations and even a billion is a stretch, it has also hindered the proposed sell off which should have happened at the very latest last year but now looks set to happen in September/october this year. I would also state in my opinion this has left EI in a weaker position for a sell off then they would have been a year ago.
John Hancock
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:23 pm

Quoting GWYIRE (Thread starter):
Aer Lingus demanded money up front from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly more than 80 Irish people home



Quoting GWYIRE (Thread starter):
the hire of a Gulf Air plane for €45,000

So were these two separate flights? Or would EI dry-lease a plane?
I scratch my head, therefore I am.
 
EI787
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:42 pm

Quoting BuyantUkhaa (Reply 20):
So were these two separate flights? Or would EI dry-lease a plane?

No, they were two seperate flights. The Irish Government chartered a Gulf Air Plane to fly the evacuees from Damascus via Bahrain to Dubai. From there, they had to wait for the scheduled Aer Lingus Flight EI101 which brought them to Dublin last Wednesday morning.
 
abc9
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:02 pm

Quoting EI787 (Reply 21):
No, they were two seperate flights. The Irish Government chartered a Gulf Air Plane to fly the evacuees from Damascus via Bahrain to Dubai. From there, they had to wait for the scheduled Aer Lingus Flight EI101 which brought them to Dublin last Wednesday morning.

As an aside, I understand one of the Goverment jets was despatched to Damascus to fly a pregeant woman and her 2 children directly back to Dublin, rather than route them through Dubai. Lord knows the Irish government are great foot draggers when it comes to matters aviation, but credit where it's due, they seem to have done the business for the evacuees in this instance.
 
iairallie
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:06 pm

Quoting Beaucaire (Reply 11):
Germany is offering free fares to it's citizens being evacuated from Lebanon...

But is the airline doing the flights charging Germany?

Aer Lingus isn't charging passengers they are charging Ireland.

Seems perfectly fair to me it sounds like the amount they are charging is only enough to cover costs if that. It's not like Aer Lingus is profiteering.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
EI787
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:07 pm

Quoting ABC9 (Reply 22):
I understand one of the Goverment jets was despatched to Damascus to fly a pregeant woman and her 2 children directly back to Dublin

Yeah, I saw that in the news. When you look at all the various countries and their evacuation of their citizens in Lebanon, you have to hand it to the Irish - they acted quickly and performed a lot better than some other countries!!
 
positiverate
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:27 pm

Quoting EI787 (Reply 24):
Quoting ABC9 (Reply 22):
I understand one of the Goverment jets was despatched to Damascus to fly a pregeant woman and her 2 children directly back to Dublin

Yeah, I saw that in the news. When you look at all the various countries and their evacuation of their citizens in Lebanon, you have to hand it to the Irish - they acted quickly and performed a lot better than some other countries!!

That's a relative statement. I would venture there were less Irish citizens in Lebanon then say French or US citizens. It's easy to plan an evacuation for, say, 3,000 people then it is for 26,000 people.
 
abc9
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:53 pm

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 25):
It's easy to plan an evacuation for, say, 3,000 people then it is for 26,000 people.

300 Irish would be closer to the mark, although I understand there were some UK and Dutch citizens accomodated on the Irish evacuation buses - still a small number none the less.
 
smokeyrosco
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Flight

Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:06 am

There was an article in the evening herald today which an EI spokesperson said that the money was never demanded up front, but rather asked for as per company procedure.
John Hancock
 
wannabe
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RE: Aer Lingus Sought Instant Payment For Mercy Fl

Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:22 am

I've done plenty of work in public sector (government) and I NEVER do anything without a purchase order or some clearly recoginized form of payment committment. The person who is making the request may have all the good intentions in the world, but goverments traditionally do not pay invoices unless you can produce either a contract or purchase order signed by the proper people authorizing the expenditure. I have learned this from experience.

If it was such a hot issue, a senior level person in the Department of Foreign Affairs should have contacted the CEO of Air Lingus to get the ball rolling. Don't blame the people who work for a living and are trying to keep their jobs for following the procedures. They get screamed at if they do, and fired if they don't.