Up to 1,500 jobs will be cut and outsourced by Irish airline Aer Lingus as part of a 74 million euro (£57m) cost-saving programme.
The former state carrier plans to slash 50 million euro (£39m) from its payroll by axing ground and cabin crew posts.
After a two-and-a-half hour meeting with unions in Dublin, management announced it will also eliminate 14 million euro (£11m) from its bill for advertising, distribution, airport costs and professional fees.
A further 10 million euro (£8m) will be deducted from the carrier’s long haul services.
The Impact trade union said the proposals as draconian and severe.
“Impact will be consulting with its members employed at Aer Lingus before any further steps are undertaken,” said a spokesman.
The airline said all ground operations - including check-in, baggage handling - cargo and catering service will be axed at Dublin Airport and outsourced.
Shannon-based cabin crew and the mid-west airport’s ground operations and cargo services will go, while ground operations in Cork will also be cut.
Cabin crew bases in Heathrow will close, but the airline’s new Belfast hub is safe and will not be affected under the scheme.
Services from New York, Boston and San Francisco will be reduced and staffed with US based cabin crew.
Aer Lingus will offer workers a voluntary severance or early retirement package, and those who do not take redundancy may transfer to a new service provider.
Employees who remain at the carrier will be hit with a pay freeze until the end of 2009 and will be given new contracts based on performance-related pay.
Aer Lingus has set a deadline of November 1 for the implementation of the programme.
Tommy Broughan, Labour’s spokesman on transport, said the job cuts were shocking and went further than people’s worst fears.
“Job losses on such a scale would mean that our national airline will be reduced to little more than a shell of its former self,” said Mr Broughan.
“What was once an international brand of recognised quality is now becoming just another low-cost airline.”
Fine Gael’s Fergus O’Dowd said Aer Lingus’s survival was critical for the economy.
“The survival of Aer Lingus is absolutely necessary to maintain a competitive airline industry in Ireland,” he added.
“However, the extent of the cost-cutting measures have understandably alarmed many working within the company. Management must make all efforts to find common agreement with its workforce.”