Category: Archive

Worrying airport ruckus

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Irish government, in the person of transport minister Seamus Brennan, is intent on breaking up Aer Rianta and allowing each airport to run as an independent entity. The idea is not without merit. As Brennan put it, the new competitive approach will encourage the “quest for new routes, airlines and passengers” in a way that will benefit “the airports, the regions, tourism, job creation and the country overall.”
Still, the various unions representing Aer Rianta have reacted negatively to the initial announcements coming from Brennan’s office. To express their concerns forcefully, union members held an emergency meeting Monday, walking off the job for more than two hours, an unfortunate move that caused unnecessary disruption for thousands of passengers, most of them at Dublin Airport.
Subsequent newspaper reports pointed to calls from both sides for dialogue, while pointing to the equally strong prospect of further confrontation and disruption. This would not be a prospect welcomed by anyone planning to travel into or out of Ireland in the coming weeks, or those whose living depends on the high season travel trade.
Brennan’s timing might have been better, of course, and it would appear that the degree of consultation with unions was not as high as it might have been. But the unions, as is often the case, are suspicious of change they feel is being forced upon them.
With so much at stake, it is imperative that an understanding be quickly reached on how to meet the required necessary changes while reassuring workers that change is not automatically detrimental to their interests.
With the hyper-hectic travel days of August coming on fast, a cooling off period for all sides at potential loggerheads in the Aer Rianta situation would not be the worst next step.

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