Air France slashes hundreds of jobs as it struggles to compete in short-haul market

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Air France has announced that it is to trim its short-haul network by approximately 15% by 2021 and as a consequence, is looking to shed 465 jobs, in a bid to stem losses resulting from competition both from other airlines and France’s high-speed TGV trains. Ben Smith, the Group’s relatively new chief executive, has been working hard to keep the powerful French unions onside, having successfully ended a crippling spate of strikes by agreeing new labor deals. As a consequence, it is currently being indicated that there will be “no forced departures.”

The cuts will eliminate a number of positions on French domestic routes over the coming year, a statement from the company made clear. Since 2013 the French carrier has lost €717 million (US$805 million) in domestic losses. This month Air France posted a 303 million-euro first-quarter loss after staff expenses jumped 6.4%. Uncertainty now surrounds the fate of Air France’s low-cost subsidiary Hop! As it is also struggling to compete with Europe’s two no-frills carriers Ryanair and easyJet. It may well transpire that the Group’s own low-cost carrier Transavia may take over the bulk of Hop!’s services.

According to The World News, Jerome Beaurain, a representative of the Sud Aerien union, said by phone before the job cuts were confirmed that Air France has been undermining its domestic business for years and that it’s already “insufficiently staffed.”

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