Management at Ireland's national airline Aer Lingus is once again focused on implementing its survival plan after a four-day grounding in early June related to a dispute with its pilots union over the rescue package.

The carrier grounded itself after a one-day strike by pilots protesting against working arrangements in the survival plan, saying it could not risk a series of strikes through the summer. Pilots were the last of the carrier's labour groups to accept the plan, worked out by the Labour Relations Commission, a special body recognised by industry and unions.

Aer Lingus in October adopted the survival plan, which is designed to return the carrier to profitability in 2003. It includes a staff reduction of 2,000, radical changes in work practices and wage freezes this year and next. The plan is the first step in putting the airline on a stable financial and operational footing, with a fundamentally lowered cost base, to create a viable business for the Irish government to revisit its privatisation of the state-owned carrier.

Source: Airline Business