The board of Aer Lingus will discuss transferring its maintenance operations from Shannon to Dublin at its board meeting this Friday.

The move could affect up to 70 employees in the maintenance division in Shannon.

Informed sources said that the maintenance facility that would remain at Shannon would be "tiny", but that the move would consolidate engineering operations in Dublin.

As yet it is unclear what would happen to Shannon staff and how many would be offered redeployment to Dublin.

The item on the agenda circulated to directors refers to the "transfer of maintenance activity to Dublin".

One key issue is what would happen to the Aer Lingus maintenance hangar at Shannon, which is leased from the Dublin Airport Authority.

One source speculated that Aer Lingus might hope to transfer its hangar in Shannon to incoming Russian aviation maintenance company Transaero.

However, it is understood that that would require the approval of the DAA. Aer Lingus has declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the DAA said it never comments on speculation about any of its customers.

Transaero is Russia's second biggest airline and has just taken over Aer Atlanta Aero Engineering's operation at Shannon, which employs over 240 people.

A spokesperson for Transaero said that while it has plans to expand, it is very early days and its immediate priority is to keep its existing operation full.

In addition, Transaero maintenance operations focus on Boeing planes, while Aer Lingus flies Airbus aircraft.