Pilots at Aer Lingus have voted by a margin of 85% to 15% to accept a package of work changes aimed at securing €5 million in annual cost savings for the airline.

Of approximately 500 pilots in total, 249 voted to accept the deal, while 48 voted against.

The deal provides for a €7 million compensation sum to be split between the 500 pilots - averaging around €14,000 each.

In return, they will give up a number of perks, including transport and phone allowances - but the big change is on pay.

Pilots flying more than 520 hours a year are current entitled to a premium payment known as performance pay.

Aer Lingus had originally sought to raise that threshold to 720 hours a year.  In the end, the company settled for 570 hours.

The pilots' union IALPA has also won the right to represent pilots based in Belfast.

The result of the ballot is good news for the company, after cabin crew also voted to accept their productivity deal last week.

However, observers are now waiting to see how Aer Lingus management will deal with the 1,800 SIPTU ground staff who last week rejected the compromise cost-cutting proposals negotiated by their representatives six weeks ago.