Air France plans to cut 6,500 jobs by 2022: sources


PARIS (Reuters) – Air France (AIRF.PA) aims to present a plan to unions to cut just over 6,500 jobs over the next two years, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday as the airline battles with the coronavirus crisis.

FILE PHOTO: Air France Airbus A380 and planes are seated on the tarmac at the site of the French company storing and recycling Tarmac Aerosave planes in Tarbes following the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) in France, June 19, 2020. Photo taken on June 19, 2020. 2020. REUTERS / Stephane Mahe / Archive photo

The flagship airline of France, which is part of the Air France-KLM group, is reducing its capacity and leaving loss-making domestic routes as the pandemic hits international travel.

In addition to the 6,500 redundancies – representing just under 15% of employees such as pilots, ground staff and flight attendants – 1,000 additional layoffs would be made within the Air France HOP . airline, one of the three sources said.

BFM TV and Agence France Presse previously reported 7,500 imminent job cuts.

Air France declined to comment on its work plans. He is scheduled to hold talks with unions on Friday.

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 of public rescue debt to cope with the pandemic – including the Dutch contribution of 3.4 billion 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 (ICAG.L) planning to cut 12,000 jobs and easyJet (EZJ.L) 4,500, or 30% of their respective workforce.

Lufthansa Group (LHAG.DE) also cuts the equivalent of 22,000 full-time positions, 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.

Ground staff are expected to bear the brunt of the job cuts, the sources said.

Report by Maya Nikolaeva, Caroline Pailliez and Sarah White, edited by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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