Up TO 150 jobs are to go as part of new cuts at the country’s three main airports at Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
The Irish Times has learned that a new voluntary redundancy program was considered by the board of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), which controls the three airports, at a meeting last week.
The DAA also has an international duty-free retailing operation known as Aer Rianta International.
It is understood that the DAA is to set aside up to €17 million to fund the new redundancy scheme.
It is expected that redundancies will be sought across the board.
The DAA declined to comment on the proposals for job cuts at the airports.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on discussions that may or may not have taken place at a DAA board meeting, as such matters are confidential,” the company said.
The DAA last year reduced its staff numbers from 3,168 to 2,971 as part of a cost-saving program.
This program has cost the DAA €49.3 million and pushed the State-owned company into the red in 2009.
The program resulted in a reduction in payroll and payroll-related costs of 10 per cent to €156 million.
As part of the cost-saving program, all employees earning the annual equivalent of more than €30,000 per year agreed to accept voluntary pay reductions ranging from five per cent to 12 per cent, in addition to the introduction of the voluntary severance scheme and changes in work practices at the three airports.
This latest redundancy package comes as the recession continues to affect trading at the country’s three international airports.
In 2010, traffic at the three airports declined to 22.6 million from 29.9 million in 2009.
This was due in part to airspace closures caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption last year.
Traffic numbers are expected to rise this year but consumer demand remains constrained due to the recession.
The DAA’s retail revenues declined in 2010 by 9 per cent to €221 million and are believed to remain under pressure in the current economic climate.
On Friday, the DAA announced that passenger charges at Dublin Airport would not be increased in 2012. It is hoped that this will encourage airlines to open new routes.
This announcement follows two years of steep increases in passenger charges by the DAA, as per an adjudication by the Commission for Aviation Regulation.
The move was criticized by Ryanair, who called on the Government to force the DAA to reduce its charges.
Separately, the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar recently commissioned a report from consultancy Booz to consider options that might give Cork and Shannon airports independence from the DAA.
Cork is losing about €8 million annually, while Shannon’s deficit is €10 million.