Pilot unions reject Air France proposal

Airline now estimates strike is costing €20mn a day

An offer by Air France-KLM management to delay the implementation of plans to radically expand operations at its low-cost unit Transavia have been rejected by unions representing striking pilots.

In an effort to avert what he called “catastrophic consequences” for the company, which the airline now estimates is costing €20 million a day, CEO Alexandre de Juniac said he would postpone the plans for new foreign bases for Transavia until the end of the year.

But in a statement, he also said there had been no progress in talks with unions and threatened to move even more quickly with the Transavia plans to add planes and recruit pilots.

Air France said that once the dispute is over, the group would have to update its earnings target for the 2014 financial year.

It added: “Management also wishes to reassert that Air France-KLM’s development on the low-cost market in Europe is both strategic and urgent for the group’s future, given that this market is fast-expanding and our competitors have adopted particularly offensive strategies on the French market.”

The main pilots union SNPL called de Juniac’s proposal unacceptable and an attempt “to put out a fire by blowing on the embers”. A smaller union, SPAF, also rejected the proposal.