Rapid growth sparks pilot woes in Ireland
Bonuses of $7,500 were not enough to entice pilots to work on their days off as an Irish airline scrambles to staff cockpits amid rapid expansion. Aer Lingus was also dangling an extra 10 days of holiday as it tried to avoid chaos on its transatlantic schedule, the Irish Independent reported. Sources quoted by the paper said Aer Lingus was forced to pay $120,000 to hire a Portuguese charter service on a recent Dublin-Boston flight after Airbus A330 captains refused the extra pay and vacation offer. Flights from Chicago were also said to have been delayed by as much as seven hours over two weekends. Transatlantic pilots are reportedly in a “high-stakes standoff ” with the booming airline over its alleged failure to hire enough pilots to keep up with rapid growth. Pilots say the busy summer season has seen them approach their annual limit of 900 flying hours. But a spokesman for Aer Lingus told The Independent “there is no shortage of pilots” and an A330 captain’s hours this year will be lower than the industry average.