Unions promise turbulence for Air France's new Canadian CEO


The appointment on Thursday of Air Canada COO Benjamin Smith as the new boss of Air France-KLM has been met with uproar among staff unions at the French arm of the group. They have fiercely protested the nomination of a foreigner at the helm of Air France, which they allege was driven by group shareholder Delta Airlines, but also the size of his remuneration package, well above that of his predecessor, and what they see as a plan to weaken Air France’s operations in favour of KLM. Mathilde Goanec reports on the furore which promises a turbulent touchdown for Smith next month.         

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Air Canada chief operating officer Benjamin Smith, 46, was on Thursday appointed as the new boss of the Air France-KLM group, replacing previous CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac who resigned in May after failing to reach agreement with staff unions over a long-running pay dispute.