Air France Announces Plans For Over 7,500 Job Cuts

Air France has detailed the airline’s plans to reduce 7,500 positions across its network. Over the next three years, most of these cuts will occur at Air France, while some will happen at HOP! However, the airline also indicated that natural departures would help reduce the involuntary nature of some of these reductions.

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Air France has announced a significant number of job cuts. Photo: Getty Images

The job cuts

In a press release viewed by Simple Flying, Air France has outlined its plans to adapt its workforce for the future. The majority of the cuts are expected at Air France. Out of its 41,000-strong workforce, the current predictions show a reduction of 6,560 jobs over the next three years.

Due to a “favorable age pyramid,” per the airline, the airline anticipates over 3,500 natural departures. In essence, the carrier believes its older workforce will allow the airline to reduce its workforce naturally.

The remainder of the reductions will be at HOP! Air France’s regional brand, the carrier anticipates that the restructuring of the company linked to the amplification of the fleet will see a reduction of 1,020 jobs out of the airline’s 2,420. There are fewer natural departures at HOP! By the end of 2022, the overstaffing figure will be around 820, according to the airline’s latest projection.

Air France Hop! Ljubljana Slovenia Paris Embraer
HOP! primarily operates short-haul routes on behalf of Air France. Photo: Getty Images

Working with unions

Air France is working with its unions to implement plans for voluntary departures, early retirement arrangements, and “professional and geographical mobility.” There will also be proposals for internal job offers for employees whose position will no longer exist and who do not wish to be included in the departure plan.

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The airline’s management met with union representatives ahead of the announcement. Photo: Getty Images

The final reconstruction plan will be presented in July alongside the plan for the Air France-KLM group. This comes as the carrier starts moving past the current crisis with an eye on the future.

A devastating impact on Air France

The current crisis has had quite an impact on Air France. For three months, the airline’s revenue fell by 95%. And, at the height of the crisis, the airline stated it was losing €15 million per day.

As a result, the airline looked for support. The French government is offering guaranteed loans of €7 billion. According to Air France, this will “enable the Group to withstand the crisis in the short term and is accompanied by strong commitments to ensure its sustainability.”

The airline saw some dire times as the crisis unfolded in Europe. Photo: Getty Images

Now, moving forward, the airline is looking at changing its domestic business model, reducing costs, and reorganizing its support functions. As part of the loan guarantee, Air France would have to cut some short-haul domestic routes to meet environmental restrictions. This is one reason that is driving the carrier’s restructuring and job losses.

A recovery taking four years

Air France is anticipating a four-year recovery despite ramping up its summer schedule. Most airlines are projecting a three to five year recovery period. Air France is taking the middle approach here. In particular, the airline notes the following:

“Recovery looks set to be very slow due to the uncertainties regarding the health situation, the lifting of travel restrictions and changing commercial demand. In this way, even on the basis of ambitious recovery assumptions, Air France predicts that it will not see the same level of activity as in 2019 before 2024.”

Undoubtedly, the airline’s route network will look differently. Trains are appearing to be one way the carrier can still ensure domestic connectivity. However, it remains to be seen if Air France will cut any of its current routes. Long-haul international demand is appearing to return slower amid more significant border closures. Already, the carrier has retired its Airbus A380.

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Already, Air France has said its farewell to the Airbus A380. Photo: Getty Images

Moving forward, Air France could work with KLM to minimize the complete loss of service from the Air France-KLM network. Instead, it could be likely that one airline continues to serve a certain point while another airline would serve a different one. This, however, will likely become clearer later this month when the group releases its plan.

What do you make of this news from Air France? Let us know in the comments!