Air France Pilots Union Agrees To Domestic Network Overhaul

Air France’s pilots have voted to allow an overhaul of the carrier’s domestic network. Yesterday, their main union shared that the crew members are giving the go-ahead for the expansion of the airline’s low-cost subsidiary, Transavia.

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Air France’s domestic operations will see a shakeup following the union’s vote. Photo: Getty Images

Majority support

According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, this move is an important step in the development of Air France-KLM. The SNPL union organized a referendum with a turnout rate of 82.63%. Altogether, 90.37% of the votes were in favor of the plans of group CEO, Ben Smith. He seeks to allow Transavia to take over some domestic routes from Air France and its other regional branch, Hop!.

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Following the vote, both sides signed formal amendments to labor agreements that had previously blocked Transavia from domestic operations. All in all, the global health crisis has aided Smith to reform his firm’s local services. These routes had been making significant losses even before the current pandemic.

The executive had joined Air France from Air Canada in 2018. However, he wasn’t able to initially progress with some of his visions due to the blocks.

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Air France is trying to get a grip on its dire financial situation amid the tough conditions. Photo: Getty Images

Ready for reshuffling

Domestic operations at Paris-Orly will see Air France continue to operate frequent La Navette flights to Toulouse, Nice, and Marseille, as well as routes to Corsica. It will also bolster its long-haul services to the French Overseas Departments and Territories, as well as to New York-JFK. Meanwhile, Transavia will start operating domestic routes while continuing to expand its European network.

Air France’s Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub will continue to strengthen the airline’s medium and long-haul flights at terminals 2F and 2E. Meanwhile, HOP! will link the CDG global hub to regional markets from terminal 2G.

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Following the agreements, Transavia will have a more significant presence within France over the next few years. Photo: Getty Images

A proactive approach

Altogether, the group feels that these changes will enable its domestic operations to be right-sized to ensure sustainable future profitability. The company is hoping to have transitioned by 2023.

“The rapid endorsement of this agreement is a major step forward in the Air France-KLM Group’s recovery strategy,” Smith said, as per the press release.

“At a time when our sector is experiencing an unprecedented crisis and is entering a phase of profound change, we have taken an essential step towards achieving sustainable improvements in our economic and environmental performance.”

Smith summarized the plan by stating that Transavia is a differentiating asset, and today the group is starting a new chapter in its development. The Dutch budget airline has been operating since 1966, and its experience could be useful in its parent’s fight for profitability going forward.

What are your thoughts about Air France’s pilots backing the airline’s domestic network overhaul? Do you feel that this is a good move? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.