Saturday, August 18, 2012
Air France Pilots Back Restructuring Plan
Fri., August 17, 2012
Pilots for Air France-KLM have backed proposals to alter their contracts and working conditions as part of the airline's three-year restructuring plan, aimed at reducing operating costs and debt, Reuters reported. Labour union SNPL, which represents more than two-thirds of the pilots, said on Thursday 67 percent of its members had voted for the plan. The agreement reached with pilots does not include job cuts, but does feature voluntary transfers with bonuses to Air France-KLM's low-cost arm Transavia. The vote comes after ground staff at Air France-KLM also approved similar restructuring measures, leaving only cabin crews in opposition. Under a three-year plan dubbed "Transform 2015," Air France- KLM is seeking to reduce operating costs by 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) with the proceeds going to pay down debt. Air France-KLM will cut some 5,000 jobs to turn around its short- and medium-haul business, which lost roughly 500 million euros last year. Air France-KLM, formed from a merger of French and Dutch carriers in 2004, is snared between low-cost rivals like easyJet in Europe and Gulf carriers such as Emirates taking chunks of its long-haul premium business.