Air France warns of new job cuts
ATP- Arab tourism portal- Reuters – PARIS – Air France was drawing up plans for thousands of new job cuts and bracing for fresh labour conflict yesterday after a deadline passed for getting an agreement with pilots on proposed productivity improvements.
Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac warned of “significant” job cuts as the French arm of the Franco-Dutch airline Air France KLM met to discuss a “Plan B” to restructuring proposals that have been backed by the rest of its 64,000 staff.
A union source said de Juniac had told the board the airline was prepared to cut 2,900 jobs as a result of the failure to reach a deal with pilots over its “Perform 2020” plan, the latest in a series of belt-tightening moves sparked by rising competition.
It had set a September 30 deadline to reach agreement on the plan, first unveiled a year ago and recently beefed up by more cost reductions and an investment review.Air France-KLM had already said on Thursday it would cut back its operations in the next two years in order to “guarantee a long-term future” as the stand-off with pilots continued.
The cuts equate to 4.9 percent of the workforce of Air France or 3.1 percent of the entire Franco-Dutch group, formed from a merger of Air France and KLM in 2004. Les Echos newspaper said the so-called “attrition” proposals, or Plan B, also called for deferring delivery of four out of the 13 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners it has on order.
Shares in Air France-KLM rose 2.4 percent, outpacing a firmer European market.The stand-off is the latest blow-up in long-standing tensions between management and pilots, who staged a 15-day strike last year that cost Europe’s second-largest network carrier 500 million euros.
Air France, like other traditional carriers, faces intense competition from low-cost rivals on regional routes and from Middle East airlines such as Emirates for long-haul passengers.