Air France pledges crew hires, flexibility, if pilots work more

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The airline's proposed deal to SNPL union would see pilots work up to 10% more on same pay, while an extra 600 pilots would be hired by 2020. 

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Air France submitted a fresh proposal to its pilots calling on them to work hours that are 5 to 10 percent longer for the same overall pay, while offering what the carrier said would amount to greater flexibility and pledging to hire more cockpit crew once terms are agreed, reports Bloomberg.

Frédéric Gagey, chief executive officer of Air France-KLM Group’s French unit, and Gilles Gateau, its human resources director, put forward the “compromise offer” at a meeting on Sunday, setting a May 2nd deadline for a response from the SNPL union, the two men said in a phone briefing.

Air France sought to sweeten the proposal by offering to hire more than 600 pilots by 2020, including 50 in 2016, raising the number to 3,900 from 3,600 currently. The new terms come after Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of parent Air France-KLM group, said last week he was leaving after after almost three years of wrangling with pilots over costs.

“This new offer would let both sides share in the gains,” Gateau said on the call on Monday.

De Juniac said after announcing his exit that the company must press on with restructuring plans if it’s too compete with low-cost carriers such as EasyJet in Europe and Gulf operators led by Emirates on long-haul routes.

The outgoing CEO’s tenure was blighted by a pilot strike in 2014 that cost Air France-KLM almost 500 million euros ($570 million), and violent clashes last year that saw executives flee a works council meeting with their clothes in tatters.

Air France previously set a January deadline for a savings accord with cockpit crew, a date that passed without comment from the company.

Read more of this report from Bloomberg.

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