Air France pilot’s strike rumbles on

AIR FRANCE-KLM has offered what are described as ‘last-ditch concessions’ – but its main pilots union has dismissed the offer and instead extended a week-long strike which has been costing the European carrier up to €20m per day, writes Thelma Etim, deputy editor.
The walkout, which began on September 15 and has forced the airline to cancel 60 per cent of its flights, is undermining its already precarious financial predicament, says the carrier’s management.
The airline and its pilots are at loggerheads over the fate of Transavia, the company’s budget carrier, which was set up to compete with lower-cost intra-European rivals such as easyJet.
It is impossible to run a successful no-frills airline based on Air France’s existing costs structure. It aims to open stations outside France which are staffed and paid under local conditions, says the carrier.
But cockpit crews say all company pilots should be part of a single pool and benefit from all the perks Air France employees have gained over time.
Meanwhile, management has agreed to freeze the plan to expand Transavia outside France for three months while pursuing talks with its pilots.
Air France has succeeded in reducing its losses via a three-year restructuring plan launched in 2012, but remains in the red.
In the first half of this year, it posted a net loss of €614m.

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