Coronavirus: Air France set to cut more than 7,500 jobs

Air France-KLM plans to cut more than 7,500 jobs at its French arm as the airline industry reels from the coronavirus crisis.

Europe’s second-biggest airline will cut 6,560 staff at Air France, with its regional French carrier Hop! losing 1,020 jobs, the business said on Friday.

In a statement, the firm said: “Recovery looks set to be very slow” due to uncertainties around Covid-19.

The cuts will need place on the next 36 months.

The group also cited the lifting of travel restrictions and changing customer demand as potential cause for concern in the foreseeable future.

  • EasyJet plans to close bases and cut staff
  • German airline Lufthansa plans to cut 22,000 jobs

At the height of the pandemic, revenues fell by 95% and the Air France airline was losing €15m (£13.5m) each day.

Air France will not expect that activity will return to its pre-pandemic level before 2024.

The group’s flagship airline expects to have cut more than 6,000 jobs by the end of 2022, out of a present total of 41,000 staff.

“Natural departures”, such as for instance retirements and employees who leave of the own accord, are expected to make up about 50 % of the reductions at Air France.

Its sister airline Hop! might find 1,020 jobs cut over the next three years. It currently employs more than 2,000 people.

Protestors at the entrance of an airport in Morlaix, western France

The company said: “Air France and Hop! are working together with the unions to implement plans that give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement arrangements and professional and geographical mobility.”

Air France also said that a wider “reconstruction plan” could be presented by the end of July, along with one for the wider Air France-KLM group.

Union members and staff staged protests at several web sites across France on Friday, including away from company’s offices near Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.

The French government has pledged vast amounts of Euros to support Air France-KLM and the wider aviation industry as demand for travel has crashed as a result of coronavirus-related lockdown measures.

Loans to Air France were contingent on the carrier scrapping some domestic flights in a bid to cut its carbon emissions.

Other airlines are also forced to adopt similar measures in anticipation of a long, slow return to former degrees of demand.

EasyJet previously said that it may need to reduce staff numbers by up to a third due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, Lufthansa said it planned to cut 22,000 jobs, and British Airways said in April that it might cut up to 12,000 jobs from its 42,000-strong workforce.

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