There have been calls this morning for the government to initiate a process of nationalising Aer Lingus, in the wake of the latest spate of cancellations of Ryanair flights.

Cllr. Éilis Ryan (Workers’ Party, Dublin) said the Ryanair debacle has exposed just how vulnerable Ireland is in the absence of a state-owned airline, saying:

“What we have seen over the past number of weeks is how little control we have over private airlines. They are, in effect, a law onto themselves, and can start and stop services on whim. As an island nation, the fact that we have no state-run airline, means we are exposed to massive vulnerabilities.

“What if Ryanair wasn’t the only airline cancelling flights? Where would we be left?”

Cllr. Ryan said that it was time to recognise that the progressive sell off of Aer Lingus between 2006 and 2015 had been a catastrophic mistake:
“As Aer Lingus was gradually privatised over the past decade, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour said those who suggested the ‘doomsday’ scenario of Ireland being left without connections to the wider world, were scaremongering.

“But would they have believed that Ryanair would cancel the flights of 400,000 passengers in a matter of weeks? The reality is that private companies will do what they need to do to protect themselves. Aer Lingus’s multinational owners have no loyalties to Ireland.”

The Workers’ Party said that nationalising Aer Lingus was the only way to establish safeguards which ensure Ireland retains connectivity with the rest of the world, saying:
“We’ve seen with the banks, with landlords, with waste collection – regulating private companies is expensive and doesn’t work. If we want to have control over what flights operate out of Ireland, we must take Aer Lingus back into state hands.”