Air France to axe 5,000 jobs

Air France has confirmed plans to axe more than 5,000 jobs by the end of 2013 in a €2 billion cost cutting move.

The figure represents almost 10% of the total workforce of 53,000.

The job cuts form part of a restructuring plan to restore profitability, in the face of increased competition and soaring fuel costs. Air France says it is hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies through natural turnover and voluntary redundancies.

The carrier estimates some 1,700 jobs could be lost through natural turnover. Air France pledged to avoid forced layoffs, encouraging early retirement, voluntary departures, part-time working and work-sharing.

But it said forced redundancies would be unavoidable if unions refused to support management’s plans.

“Air France is facing a fundamental choice about its future,” chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement as he met the airline’s works council. If we all make the necessary equitably distributed efforts, there will be no forced departures.”

The airline, one part of the Air France-KLM conglomerate, launched a major cost-saving programme, Transform 2015, earlier this year.

This came after it posting a loss of €809 million for 2011 and a first quarter net loss this year of €368 million.

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