( BBC ) - Aer Lingus and Irish pilots' union Impact are to hold indirect talks in a bid to resolve a deepening dispute which threatens to ground the airline.
The row is over the pilots' refusal to train recruits for the airline's new Belfast operation following a dispute over union negotiation rights.
A breakthrough amid the increasing gloom in the dispute came on Friday.
Management agreed to an invitation from the Labour Relations Commission to enter exploratory talks on Saturday.
Talks will not be face-to-face, but instead the commission will examine both sides' positions and see if there are any grounds for a resolution.
The union accepts that pay and pensions for pilots at Belfast will be lower than in Dublin, but wants a role in negotiating staff conditions at Aldergrove, which management is refusing, saying the union has no role outside the Republic.
The airline is threatening to suspend all pilots on Tuesday who continue a union ban on training, a move which could ground Aer Lingus but which unions are claiming would be a lock-out.