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World

Air France to slash 7,500 jobs by end-2022: unions

  • The aviation industry has been hammered by the travel restrictions imposed to contain the outbreak, with firms worldwide still uncertain when they will be able to get grounded planes back into the air.
July 01, 2020

PARIS: Air France will cut 7,500 jobs by the end of 2022, as part of a cost-cutting drive that has gained new urgency in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, union sources told AFP on Tuesday.

The aviation industry has been hammered by the travel restrictions imposed to contain the outbreak, with firms worldwide still uncertain when they will be able to get grounded planes back into the air.

Most of the job cuts will come from non-replacement of retiring workers or voluntary departures, though layoffs have not been excluded, the union sources said ahead of a works council meeting with management on Friday.

Around 6,500 jobs will go at Air France and a further 1,000 at its Hop! regional subsidiary, out of roughly 41,000 full-time equivalent jobs overall.

"The lasting drop in activity and the economic context due to the COVID-19 crisis require the acceleration of Air France's transformation," the airline said when contacted by AFP.

The union sources did not say if jobs would also be cut at KLM, the Dutch component of the Air France-KLM group, which has some 85,000 employees in total.

"We are looking at all tools that will enable an adjustment of the workforce in line with the decline in activity," Air France said.

Air France-KLM posted a loss of 1.8 billion euros in the first quarter alone, and has warned it could be years before operations return to pre-coronavirus levels.

Air France has been offered seven billion euros in emergency loans from the French state or backed by it, while the Dutch government approved a 3.4 billion euro package of bailout loans for KLM last week.

The group joins a long list of airlines that have announced job cuts in recent weeks.

Lufthansa is to slash 22,000 jobs, British Airways 12,000, Delta Air Lines 10,000 and Qantas 6,000.

European aircraft maker Airbus is expected to inform unions Tuesday that thousands of jobs could be slashed as it restructures operations in a bid to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.