Air France-KLM has confirmed it will launch a more competitive long-haul airline to challenge its competitors from the Gulf states.
On November 3rd, Jean-Marc Janaillac, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air France-KLM, announced Air France would develop a new company: “adapted to ultra-competitive markets and positioned on structurally loss-making routes, or those that have been closed in the past few years.”
He explained that the new company will not be low cost, but will offer its customers business and leisure destinations: “with standards comparable to those of Air France” in terms of product quality and the professionalism of the crews. The new company will also serve as a “laboratory” for the Group’s future innovation in terms of products including, technology, catering, cabin design, working practices and overall customer experience. He added that the new company will have ten long-haul aircraft by 2020 with some 30% of operations focused on newly-created routes. It will operate with Air France pilots on a “volunteer basis at work conditions adapted to its competitive positioning.” Cabin crews will be recruited externally: “to enable this new company to be operated at the level of market costs.” Ground operations will be handled by Air France and its human resources framework: “will be negotiated with the unions in the coming weeks.”
Mr Janaillac explained that the Group needed a “new dynamic” to return it to a leadership position within its markets. He said Air France-KLM’s ambition is to “regain the offensive” and described the move as “both ambitious and realistic.”
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