Air France intends to cut its workforce by 7.580, becoming another airline that has to adapt to the post Covid-19 situation. Earlier, it was expected that up to 8.300 staff had to go, so the announcement on July 3 is little consolation to those effected.
The French national airline expects the current slump in demand to continue for at least another three years. Traffic could be back to 2019-levels only by 2024. This reflects the forecast by most airlines and IATA.
In order to prepare for this, the parent airline will reduce its 41.000-strong workforce by 6.560. Air France some 3.500 employees will leave the company through natural departure or early retirement, while a voluntary departure scheme is also on offer.
Another 1.020 will be made redundant at regional subsidiary Air France HOP!, out of 2.420 currently employed. Taking natural departures into account, a net reduction of 820 positions is expected.
Air France is in talks with unions about the reduction plan. Expect some difficult negotiations here in a country with strong union positions. They have called on the government to limit the number of forced redudancies. At the same time, the EUR 7 billion state aid to AF is conditional on a restructuring plan and a reduction in domestic air travel. Where possible, high-speed trains have to replace air routes. For now, the situation seems to be rather different as domestic routes currently operated by HOP! will be transferred to low-cost subsidiary Transavia France that operates at lower cost levels. HOP! will also see a simplification of its fleet.
Air France plans to announce the reconstruction plan by the end of July, at the same time Air France-KLM and KLM will present theirs.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.