Air France strike ends, low-cost unit to develop

Divisions remain over future of airline’s low-cost unit

Air France pilots called off their two-week strike on Sunday, but divisions remain over the future of the airline’s low-cost operations – the reason for the strike in the first place. The strike cost the airline more than €280 million.

The pilots had come under increasing pressure to return to work. Manuel Valls, France’s Socialist prime minister, said on Friday that the pilots were suffering from “egotism”.

“It is our duty as union representatives to know when to end a strike, when we know there will not be any progress,” the main Air France pilot union SNPL said. “We are asking pilots to resume flying, knowing that tensions are inevitable, to allow for the climate to calm down.”

Air France now says it plans to accelerate the development of low-cost unit Transavia as a weapon to fight surging competition from budget carriers.

“This ending of the conflict reinforces the company’s determination to makes its economic model evolve in order to cement its leadership,” it said in a statement, adding that the project would create a thousand jobs in France, including jobs for 250 pilots.

Reuters

[image courtesy Air France]

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