Virus-Hammered Air France Announces 7,500 Job Cuts

PARIS—Air France and regional subsidiary Hop announced 7,500 job cuts Friday after the virus pandemic grounded most flights and darkened prospects for future air travel.

Activists from multiple unions protested at Air France headquarters at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport as talks began Friday morning about future job prospects at Frances flagship airline.

Theyre particularly angry that the French government didnt require Air France to protect jobs when it won 7 billion euros ($8 billion) in state bailout funds in May. Workers warned that the job cuts will ripple across the French economy, and said bailout funds should be used to rebuild the company instead of pushing people into unemployment.

After a day of talks with personnel representatives, company management announced Friday night that it will cut about 6,500 of 41,000 jobs at Air France and 1,000 of the 2,400 jobs at Hop by 2022.

The company said most of the losses will come through not replacing retiring and departing workers and that it would encourage voluntary departures and early retirements before imposing lay-offs.

Airlines around the world are forecast to lose $84 billion this year, with revenue halved. Some have filed for bankruptcy or sought bailouts to survive the near-shutdown in their activity, and officials predict the industry will take years to recover.

“Its too easy to take COVID-19 as an excuse,” said Julien Lemarie, a 35-year-old Hop mechanic demonstrating at the airport. “The scale of this plan … its enormous, its an absolute sledgehammer blow.”

Air France said its traffic sank 95 percent over the worst three months of the coronavirus pandemic and it was losing 15 million euros a day—and that it doesnt expect to recover untRead More – Source