Air France is being 'saved', heads for profits: company

A deep restructuring plan with big job cuts is rescuing French airline Air France, and the whole Air France-KLM group will become profitable by the end of the year, the group said on Monday.

Air France "is in the process of being saved," the head of the whole group Alexandre de Juniac told Europe 1 radio.

"Air France-KLM should make money from 2013 and Air France should do so in 2014, which means that we will have the means for development, to open new routes," notably in Africa, Asia and Latin America, he said.

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Until now, the company had said only that Air France-KLM was being turned around from financial crisis. It had suggested in the six-month results that the group might be profitable by the end of the year.

In September, the number of passengers carried by the entire group rose by 0.7 percent but freight traffic again fell sharply, by 4.1 percent.

The Air France component, which celebrates its 80th anniversary on Monday but has been in difficulties since 2009, appears to be climbing towards brighter skies, having put in place a deep restructuring programme.

De Juniac said: "Air France is in the process of being saved but we have to do what we have said we will do.

"The staff are involved in an enormous plan. We have asked them to make a considerable effort. They have increased their working hours, they have increased their time in the air, they have changed their work methods."

In January 2012, the group launched a programme called "Transform 2015", to enable it to return to profit by 2015 and to put itself on a new, sound footing.

Under the plan, 1,826 people were to leave voluntarily, and in a second wave announced on Friday another 2,800 jobs will be shed.

The head of the Air France part of the group, Frederic Gagey, had said that the action was needed because Air France would not otherwise achieve its targets for ending losses in 2013 and would end up reporting an operating loss for the sixth year in a row.



by Kyoko HASEGAWA © 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Oct 7, 2013