Air France discussing thousands of job cuts

PARIS (AP) — Air France met with personnel representatives yesterday to discuss thousands of job cuts after the virus pandemic grounded most flights and darkened prospects for future air travel.

Activists from the far-left CGT union protested at Air France headquarters at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport as the talks began.

They are particularly angry that the French government did not require Air France to protect jobs when it won EUR7 billion in state bailout funds in May. Unions warned that job cuts will ripple across the French economy.

French media reports said the airline is looking to cut 7,500 jobs, primarily through voluntary departures.

Airlines around the world are forecast to lose USD84 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.

The EUR7 billion in state aid for Air France is in the form of loans and loan guarantees and part of a broader EUR15 billion rescue plan from the government for the aviation sector.

The Air France meetings come days after European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, based in France, said that it must eliminate 15,000 jobs to safeguard its future.