In a very bad economic way, the French-Dutch airline Air France has announced this Saturday April 25 a voluntary redundancy plan as part of the company’s restructuring to overcome the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Set up by the company, this plan aims at avoiding the social plan and helping the economic upturn. A measure mentioned by Air France-KLM group director general Benjamin Smith to Les Echos and following Minister of the Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire’s statement as for the €7-billion help to the airline from the State to help it recover from the crisis…
“Some Air France staff are probably ready to leave voluntarily, if given the opportunity” the group CEO said. “The first step would therefore be to propose voluntary departure plans” he continues. As to know when things will be normal again, Ben Smith says it will take at least two years, depending on “the border reopening, but also how long it will take our customers to get back on the planes” he says. “With this support (from the State), we have the means to get through the most difficult period of the next few months, during which our liquidity risked reaching a critical level, an to continue operating for twelve to 18 months” he concludes.
An economic crisis that will also enable to “make the structural reforms that some of our competitors have already carried out” the CEO explains. Among those reforms, a plan to transform the company, launched this past November and said to go on as planned, and even accelerate especially on “the rationalization of the domestic network, which generated 200 million euros in losses last year, and the restructuring of the non-operational support functions”. In the crosshairs, the resume of several domestic flights, such as Transavia.
A bet for the future he hopes will happen without too many mishaps: “We will make sure that the social impact is as reduced as possible” he said, adding that “the details of the measures will be finalized this summer” as for the domestic network. The support secured by the State and the voluntary redundancy plan will help.