Turbulence at Air France as it unveils plans to cut 5,122 jobs

The airline aims to reduce staff by more than 10 per cent.

The Air France CEO, Alexandre de Juniac (C), in Paris. Credit: Getty Images

More bad news for French workers, as President François Hollande battles to reduce the highest levels of unemployment his country has seen in a century. As part of its €2bn cost-cutting measures, the partially state-owned Air France has announced plans to cut 5,122 jobs – more than a tenth of its work force – by the end of 2013. Air France KLM's airlines Air France and KLM are implementing transformation measures to ensure the group’s return to break-even status.

At the end of June, Air France will be presenting new framework agreements for review by various professional organisations. If they are signed, the airline has pledged not to make redundancies and to implement various measures to support the necessary reduction in staff numbers. These include encouraging voluntary retirement, part-time work and sharing working time for cabin and flight deck crew.

Alexandre de Juniac, chairman and CEO of Air France, said:

Air France is facing a fundamental choice about its future. Our business plan has two ambitions: to ensure Air France returns to profitability and to better serve our customers. If we all make the necessary equitably distributed efforts, there will be no forced departures. The signature of the agreements in the next few days will involve all Air France staff and will illustrate everyone’s determination to put Air France back on the road to recovery. I have every faith in the success of our plan, which will enable Air France to return to the forefront of the major international airlines.

The group will restructure its short- and medium-haul activity to regain its competitiveness and bring together operations by Airlinair, Brit Air and Regional within a new regional hub, which is expected to reduce costs by 15 per cent.

Air France also intends to develop its subsidiary Transavia Franc in order to improve growth in the leisure sector and upgrade customer channels at airports using new technologies.

Shares in Air France-KLM nosedived more than 70 per cent in 2011. News of the job cuts immediately lifted the cruising altitude by almost 8 per cent.