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Air France could cut thousands of jobs by 2022

Credit: Belga

The Air France group plans to cut over 7,500 jobs by the end of 2022, union sources told AFP on Tuesday.

That includes 6,560 jobs within Air France itself and over 1,000 at the regional airline Hop!.

The job cuts will mostly involve natural departures that are not being replaced and voluntary departures, according to the unions.

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Two Hop! maintenance sites are reportedly threatened with closure, as is an Air France flight crew base in Toulouse.

At Air France, departures would happen through collective bargaining agreements for flight staff, while a voluntary departure plan is favoured for ground staff. Management reportedly wishes to start negotiations with ground staff unions at the beginning of July for the first departures at the beginning of 2021.

When contacted by AFP, the airline said it wanted to reserve “the first presentation of its strategic orientations and their impact on employment to the social partners and staff representative bodies, which it will hold on Friday 3 July” during a central economic and social committee meeting.

“The lasting drop in activity and the economic context linked to the Covid-19 crisis make it necessary to speed up Air France’s transformation,” the airline said, adding that they are looking into “all the tools that will enable Air France to adjust its workforce to the drop in activity, giving priority to voluntary work and mobility.”

The aviation industry as a whole was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with tens of thousands of jobs threatened at Lufthansa, British Airways and the American Delta Airlines.

The French State, a shareholder in Air France-KLM, has provided financial support of €7 billion, including €4 billion in guaranteed bank loans and €3 billion in direct loans, asking it to improve its profitability and its environmental impact.

In response, Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith announced at the end of May the reduction of the French network by 40% by the end of 2021. 

The Brussels Times

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