Air France chief replies to Dutch complaints.
Tension may be appearing between the two major airlines in the Air France-KLM alliance. Air France’s chief executive, Frederic Gagey, has taken the step of making an unusual direct approach to the Dutch public following several damaging stories in the Dutch press.
Newspapers in the Netherlands allege that opposition is growing at KLM to the group using the Dutch carrier’s approximately €1 billion in annual operating profit for group purposes, rather than reinvesting it.
Gagey’s letter in the Netherlands’ biggest daily Het Financieele Dagblad stresses that Air France’s costs have been reduced since 2012 and 7,000 jobs have been cut.
“The idea that KLM feels all the pain and that Air France isn’t doing anything is completely wrong and a blow to the whole group’s 95,000 employees,” he writes.
“The annual figures of Air France-KLM that will be published this month will show how Air France has improved its financial situation as of the end of 2014.”
Earnings are due on February 19. Last year, Air France-KLM issued three profit warnings. In the third quarter, an Air France pilots’ strike cost the group €330 million.
[pictured: Embraer 90; courtesy KLM]