Some 3,500 of the job cuts are believed to result from natural attrition – such as retirements and the non-replacement of dropouts, two sources said.
Under the leadership of Ben Smith, who joined Air Canada in 2018, Air France-KLM sought to reduce costs, improve working relations in France and overcome the feuds over governance between France and the Netherlands, who each own nearly 14% of the group.
Now struggling with 10.4 billion euros in public rescue debt to cope with the pandemic – including 3.4 billion Dutch dollars last week – Air France-KLM must now accelerate its restructuring to remain competitive and independent.
Competitors moved faster to announce job cuts, with British Airways planning to cut 12,000 jobs and easyJet 4,500, or 30% of their respective workforce.
The Lufthansa group is also cutting the equivalent of 22,000 full-time jobs, or 16%.
But mature staff, many of them close to retirement, should help Air France meet its voluntary layoff targets, Smith told Reuters when opening restructuring talks in May.