Air France pilots to continue strike over low-cost plans
A strike by Air France pilots over the airline’s plans to expand its low-cost activities abroad has entered its second week
Unions representing striking French pilots rejected Air France-KLM’s move to delay the contested roll-out of its low-cost operations and vowed to stay on strike in defence of French pay and conditions.
Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM Alexandre de Juniac (C) visits Air France check-in counters
The strike over the proposed expansion of the group’s Transavia unit started on September 15th, with the airline estimating that the dispute was costing it up to 20 million Euros (15.74 million Pounds) a day.
Aiming to avert what he called ‘catastrophic consequences’ for the company, CEO Alexandre de Juniac said he would postpone until the end of the year plans to create new foreign hubs for Transavia in an effort to buy time for detailed talks.
But in a statement, he also said there had been no progress in talks with the unions and threatened to abandon a 2007 deal on a staged rollout for Transavia in France, moving instead more quickly to add planes and recruit pilots regardless.
Air France said it would have to review its 2014 earnings targets once the dispute finished.
Facing an array of low-cost European rivals, Air France announced this month that it planned to beef up Transavia, more than doubling passenger numbers to 20 million by 2017 and developing a significant part of the business outside France.
The dispute highlights discrepancies in wages, labour conditions and welfare coverage between European countries which are theoretically part of a single market for goods and services, but in fact compete with each other for jobs.