The flag carrying airline Air France, along with its low-cost subsidiary Hop!, are to make substantial staffing cuts as a direct consequence of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel.
Air France has indicated that it will shed 6,000 jobs from a workforce of approximately 41,000 staff, while Hop! will reduce its approximate 2,000 staff by 1,020. The carrier’s parent company, Air France-KLM is Europe’s second-largest carrier and the job cuts are anticipated to take place over a three-year period.
After discussions with unions, the carrier confirmed that: “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.” However, union members and staff staged protests at several locations across France on Friday, including at the company’s offices near Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.
At the peak of the pandemic, revenue dropped by 95% and the Air France airline alone was losing €15m (US$17m) on a daily basis. It is now predicting that passenger demand will return to the pre-pandemic level before 2024. A wider-reaching “reconstruction plan” for Air France is due to be presented at the back end of July, along with a broader one for the parent company, Air France-KLM.
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, though one of the conditions for a loan to Air France was that it cut a number of domestic flights from its schedule to reduce the rate of carbon emissions. Recently, competitor airlines such as easyJet, British Airways and Lufthansa confirmed they will be trimming staffing levels substantially.