A single figure shows the explosion suffered by the company in the face of the health crisis: every day, the Air France – KLM group loses almost 10 million euros. In a message to customers Monday, September 14, Air France CEO Anne Rigail explains that with the pandemic, activity has fallen by 70%. And the recovery this summer seems very limited. The traffic has experienced a small rebound, but concerns remain high about the resumption of the epidemic and the re-containments decided in some countries such as Israel.
This context weakens Air France’s alliance with KLM. Since its establishment in 2004, there have been many tensions between the two French and Dutch companies, but the tone has been mounting lately. Each country has a 14% stake in the airline and, in this crisis, each government has rushed to the aid of the group. Paris, for example, has promised to inject 7 billion euros in aid in the form of guaranteed loans and the Netherlands 3.5 billion.
But this weekend, the Dutch finance minister decided to put pressure on his French ally. For him, Air France must make even more efforts to get by. The statement comes just as the Netherlands is negotiating a savings plan with KLM staff.
In Paris, we do not appreciate the position of the Dutch minister. The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire for example recalled that Air France has already planned to cut 7,500 jobs within two years. The minister says he remains in solidarity with Air France, which he promises not to let go. But he also recognizes that it may be necessary to go further and declares “if the situation continues until the end of next year, then Air France will have to cut costs even more drastically”.