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Importance of maintaining “high-quality” jobs at Lufthansa Technik has been acknowledged by the Taoiseach.

Lufthana Technik’s future in Shannon remains up in the air with up to 500 jobs on the line. The airport maintenance specialist has confirmed that it is carrying out a strategic review of its Irish operations.

Options currently on the table for the German firm include a restructuring of its Irish operation, closing down the plant altogether and selling the business. A decision on the future plan is to be made known by mid-July.

The Clare Echo understands that Shannon based Atlantic Aviation Group have already viewed the site with Dublin Aerospace also said to have expressed an interest.

Based in Shannon since the early 1990s, Lufthansa provides over 300 highly-skilled jobs with the remainder carried out by contractors. “If aircrafts aren’t flying, businesses like Lufthansa will be impacted into the future,” CEO of Shannon Chamber, Helen Downes warned.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, Clare TD Joe Carey (FG) highlighted how significant an employer Lufthansa Technik has been to Co Clare and the Mid-West region. “The company is a major employer in the mid-west, providing 500 highly-skilled jobs. The government has invested heavily in this critical company over the last 18 months by means of the temporary wage subsidy scheme, TWSS, and the employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS. The company has also benefited from the rates waiver. It is critically important that the Government and its agencies engage with this company and secure the 500 jobs at risk. The current strategic review is looking at possible closure, sale or restructuring. It is important that the government, and the Taoiseach, provide every support necessary to secure these jobs”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF) agreed with the need for urgency on the matter. “Government agencies will engage with the company because they are high-quality jobs. They are important jobs that we want to retain in the country and the region. The whole area in question has been very effective in creating jobs relating to aviation. The government will do everything we can to be of support to ensure the retention of jobs,” the Taoiseach promised.

Meanwhile, Deputy Michael McNamara (IND) has voiced his hope that more than 300 highly-skilled full-time jobs can be saved at Lufthansa. “While the majority of contract staff were released in the last year, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, management at the company has engaged with worker’s representatives from SIPTU to ensure the majority of full-time staff have been retained. This has been achieved successfully up to now by staggering work shifts with staff taking paid leave by availing of days built up over the years. This arrangement is, however, unsustainable in the medium term for the company”.

McNamara said the pandemic has negatively affected the international aircraft servicing sector, but the challenges faced by companies in Ireland have been compounded by the Irish Government’s “outlier aviation policies”. He added, “The winding up of Stobart Air with the expected loss of services from Shannon to Birmingham and Edinburgh, and the decision by Aer Lingus to close its cabin crew base at Shannon Airport last month highlight the crippling affect that Government aviation policy is having on the wider sector”.

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