Air France wins pi­lots’ nod for low-cost air­line

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

A lengthy dis­pute be­tween Air France man­age­ment and pi­lots ended yes­ter­day af­ter the pi­lots backed the es­tab­lish­ment of a lower-cost sub­sidiary to try to com­pete with bud­get air­lines and Gulf car­ri­ers. Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janail­lac praised the pi­lots’ “spirit of re­spon­si­bil­ity” af­ter they agreed to the cre­ation of a cheaper medi­u­mand long-haul ser­vice on con­di­tion they would re­ceive the same pay and con­di­tions.

The hir­ing of stew­ards, hostesses and part of the ground per­son­nel for the new Boost ser­vice will, by con­trast, be out­sourced. Janail­lac said the agree­ment was a “bal­anced com­pro­mise that serves the in­ter­est of the com­pany and all its em­ploy­ees.”

The com­pany will be­gin of­fer­ing the lower-cost medium-range flights in the au­tumn and fol­low up with a new long-range ser­vice in mid-2018. The pi­lots were ini­tially hos­tile to the plan, fear­ing they would be forced to ac­cept lower wages.

In Septem­ber 2014, they struck for two weeks over the ex­pan­sion of Air France’s low-cost Euro­pean sub­sidiary Transavia, ground­ing thou­sands of flights. Yes­ter­day’s ac­cord ends seven months of ne­go­ti­a­tions on a new cost­cut­ting deal.

The pi­lots agreed to for­feit a day of rest on medi­um­range flights and to give up their pri­vate toi­lets on the A330 and A350 air­lin­ers, in or­der to cre­ate space for more pas­sen­gers. Air France for its part agreed to limit the num­ber of planes that would be op­er­ated by the new ser­vice to 18 medium-haul and 10 long-haul air­craft. — AFP

MAR­SEILLE: This file photo shows two Air-France planes parked on the tar­mac of the Mar­seille-Provence air­port in Marig­nane near Mar­seille. — AFP

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