Aer Lingus blasts ‘anti-family’ travel restrictions – burn rate €1 million a day

Air Lingus ©Airbus

Having posted a loss of €563 million last year and €103 million for the first quarter this year, Aer Lingus is exploring numerous options with regard to restructuring and obtaining financial support. Owned by IAG, which also owns British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, Aer Lingus has already been the recipient of a €150 million loan from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and is in talks with the state-controlled agency for further funding.

The Irish carrier’s chief executive, Lynne Embleton has made it clear that Aer Lingus needs “hundreds of million” of extra cash in order to survive the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic. She has been particularly scathing of what she sees as “anti-family” travel restrictions that need to be lifted, particularly for their main markets, which are the U.K. and U.S. “We believe that’s a further impediment to Irish aviation getting back on its feet,” she said. “The particular consequences of the restrictions on travelers to the U.K. and from the U.K., and to the U.S. and from the U.S., is what I would describe as an anti-family policy,” she said. “You can travel as a family with vaccinated parents,” she explained. “An Irish family coming back into Ireland from the U.S. or U.K., the children would then have to quarantine or self-isolate at home. Any U.S. or U.K. families choosing to spend some time in Ireland, they would be able to move around in Ireland, but the children would need to again, isolate,” adding that: “This is a situation which dampens any enthusiasm for travel. It’s one which we believe should be revisited.”

From July 19, Ireland is set to adopt the EU Digital Covid Certificate for travel originating with the EU and European Economic Area countries. From that date. Fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S. can also visit Ireland without quarantining on arrival or having a pre-departure Covid test. The Aer Lingus chief said the carrier has also previously asked the government for supports including rebates for airport charges, an extension of wage supports into next year, and route specific supports, while also making it clear that any forms of government assistance could not have any strings attached, such as job security or connectivity. Embleton remains committed to closing Aer Lingus’ base at Shannon Airport. (€1.00 = US$1.19 at time of publication.)

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