Meanwhile, into the flighty mix that is the dispute between the pilots and what many still regard as the Irish flag carrying airline, Ryanair, the main rival for Aer Lingus on many routes in and out of Ireland, though not the Atlantic, has jumped with a reported share buying thrust.
It was reported that Ryanair has now increased its stake in Aer Lingus to 28 percent, up from just over 25 percent.
That would make Ryanair, headed by its hard driving and high flying CEO Michael O’Leary, the largest single shareholder in Aer Lingus, just under three percentage points ahead of the next largest shareholder – the Irish government.
Ryanair bought 16 million shares at 2.35 euro each from an unnamed seller, the Irish Times reported. Ryanair, in keeping with its usual reticence in such matters, did not comment.
The low cost carrier did try to snap up Aer Lingus in its entirety last October after Aer Lingus was floated on the market.
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus is holding talks with its pilots. A first round of negotiations has adjourned and will resume next week.
The dispute is linked to the Aer Lingus transfer of flights to London’s Heathrow from Shannon to Belfast, but most specifically to the kind of work conditions that will prevail in the Belfast operation.
Aer Lingus North America, in a statement, said that it welcomed the decision of the pilots union IALPA to suspend the planned strike action for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
“Effective today, August 20th, Aer Lingus will resume a full transatlantic schedule both eastbound and westbound with the exception of the following flights,” the statement issued Monday said.
The still cancelled flights were Tuesday’s EI 105 from Dublin to New York and Flight EI 104 from New York to Dublin.
Cancelled on Wednesday August 22nd are Aer Lingus Flights EI 123 Dublin to Chicago and Flight EI 122 Chicago to Dublin.
According to the statement, over 5,000 passengers were scheduled to depart from the U.S. during the 72 hours that would have been affected by the strike.
Upon notification of the planned industrial action, Aer Lingus reached out to customers providing them with updates via e-mail, text messages, telephone, website and call center updates,’ the statement said.
“The vast majority of those passengers were re-accommodated on other airlines or assisted with rescheduling of flights. In the coming hours, Aer Lingus will continue to reach out to passengers with the most up to date information and re-accommodate as needed.”
The statement concluded: “Customers that have been rebooked on alternate airlines and dates, reservations are still intact. Should they wish to change back to an operating Aer Lingus flight they may do so without penalty. Bookings that were made via aerlingus.com can be altered online.”
While threatened stoppage forced thousands of travelers to scramble, change plans and scrap them entirely the clouds hanging over the airline had a silver lining for some.
Sisters Kathleen Doyle and Eileen Fallon from Dublin were planning to fly to New York Wednesday. Instead they flew last Sunday, so adding three days to their keenly anticipated American vacation.