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Thousands of Air France jobs in question following coronavirus collapse

Air France-KLM plans to cut service between cities where trains can provide a viable alternative.
Air France-KLM plans to cut service between cities where trains can provide a viable alternative. AFP/File
Text by: David Coffey with RFI
3 min

The management of Air France has announced that it will be presenting its reorientation strategy for the survival of the company to aviation industry unions on 3 July.

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Next month's exceptional general meeting will also address the consequences for jobs within the company, following the collapse of the aviation sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Employees are waiting to hear exactly how many job losses there will be within the Air France-KLM group.

A similar meeting regarding the future of Air France’s regional airline Hop! is also due to take place on 3 July. The group’s short distance carrier is also expected to be hard hit by the restructuring plan.

According to unions, several thousand jobs are on the line, but most of the redundancies are expected to be voluntary, in the form of contractual terminations that will be negotiated by Air France personnel.

Grounded Air France airplanes (pictured March 2020) sit at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France, north of Paris, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the grounding of planes around the world as borders and airports were closed
Grounded Air France airplanes (pictured March 2020) sit at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France, north of Paris, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the grounding of planes around the world as borders and airports were closed AFP/File

Meanwhile, France’s minister for finance, Bruno Le Maire has called on Air France not to initiate "forced" departures as part of its "transformation plan", saying that that would be crossing a "red line".

Neither Air France, nor Mr.Le Maire would confirm that the job losses could amount to between 8,000 and 10,000 redundancies, which accounts for between 15% to 20% of employees - figures that have been tallied by the economics daily Les Echos.

Air France director general Benjamin Smith announced at the end of last month that a plan to reduce internal flights by 40% would be put in place between now and the end of 2021, along with the closure of several destinations when there is a rail alternative within 2 hours 30 minutes and when this service does not reach the Roissy-Charles-De-Gaulle hub.

The decision to restructure France’s national carrier was made after the French government granted Air France a financial rescue package of 7 billion euros, including 4 billion bank loans guaranteed 90% by the State and 3 billion direct loans.

Following the bailout, Air France was told to improve its profitability and its environmental impact, and to start rethinking its regional network in France.

 

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