Scoop: The surprise takeover of Air France-KLM by Etihad

Incredible: Etihad has just announced this morning that it is buying Air France KLM for a symbolic euro. This decision, which sends a chill down the spine of all Air France-KLM employees, follows the announcements of the previous week and the outrageous incidents of the beginning of this week.

A social situation that was becoming untenable for the leadership team.

After Transform 2015, which failed to deliver the expected productivity gains, and the failure of the Perform 2020 negotiations, Air France-KLM’s management found itself in a socio-economic dead end from which it could not easily escape. The takeover by Etihad then became inevitable.
James Hogan, managing director of the Abu Dhabi-based company said: “We will now be able to expand our network under the Etihad Airways Regional brand. Both airlines will be phased out, and employees will be transferred to Etihad Regional, as will the aircraft. We will obviously not be able to maintain salaries at their current levels, which do not allow an airline to be profitable.”. The unions will have only their eyes to cry.

A fiction?

Yes, but not for long. By dint of sawing the branch on which they are sitting, some representatives of the national airline’s cabin crew, the SNPL in this case, are going to fall off.
There are many battles to be fought, but the pilots are fighting the wrong battle. While Air France management is right to consider attrition as a means of increasing the profitability of its routes, it is mistaken about the target of the cuts: it is the medium-haul routes that need to be rationalized as a priority, by finalizing the HOP! consolidation and focusing on the destinations that feed the CDG hub in order to increase long-haul traffic. Only then will we focus on consolidating the long-haul business.
By refusing attrition, the pilots are signing the death warrant of the company, which is doomed to be unprofitable. I thought pilots were educated, sensible people, understanding macro-economic issues in a sufficiently deep way: in this respect, the September 2014 strike had disappointed me, the October 2015 position saddens me.

Unacceptable acts

A group of individuals shames France through our national company. The international press was moved by this and rightly so. Violence has never solved anything, and even less so in the context of social dialogue.
Physically assaulting a man in the workplace is an act that carries exceptional professional and criminal penalties. And the individuals around him do not deserve the blurring they receive in the press.

So now what will they do to keep going?

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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