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 company 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 take place over the next three years.

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

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

Air France does 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 current total of 41,000 staff.

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

Its sister airline Hop! will see 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
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” would be presented at the end of July, along with one for the wider Air France-KLM group.

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

The French government has pledged billions 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 have also been forced to adopt similar measures in anticipation of a long, slow return to former levels of demand.

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

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

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