On this 10th day of their strike, Air France pilots are maintaining the pressure on management. Yesterday, 23rd September, 300 captains and co-pilots were thus gathered outside the French National Assembly in Paris, demanding nothing less than the withdrawal of the Transavia Europe project, which outlines plans to operate the low-cost subsidiary on an enlarged European network, in particular from Germany and Portugal.
Announced only very recently, the launch of the project, proposed by the C.E.O. of Air France-KLM, was taken by the strikers as provocation; but in fact, what do the airline pilots’ unions fear ?
Jean-Louis Barber, President - SNPL (main Air France pilots’ union):
"Today, postponing Transavia Europe by a few weeks will not solve the underlying problem which is that of job relocation. There are concerns about our jobs, and conditions have not been met. On the other hand, we demand the rapid development of Transavia France, because today, we are conscious that Air France must take advantage of this market.’’
According to the management, each day of the strike is costing Air France 20 million euros. Since the conflict began, the losses of the company are comparable to buying an Airbus A-330 long-haul aircraft. If the movement lasts, is the future of the national carrier at stake ? When questioned in an interview on the French television channel, France 2, the Group C.E.O. responded...
Alexandre De Juniac, Chairman and CEO - Air France – KLM :
"Air France was in the process of keeping its head above water, and yet within days they have just annihilated these efforts, yes, I have to say this is really sad, a shame, and no airline is immortal, including Air France."
For now, the S.N.P.L., the main Air France pilots’ union, has filed a new strike notice until 30th September. A date that Alexander De Juniac cannot wait for, to slam the whole machine into reverse, and announce the withdrawal of the Transavia Europe project.