Air France-KLM to eliminate 5,122 jobs by 2013

Air France-KLM Group, Europe's largest carrier yesterday announced plans to eliminate 5,122 jobs by 2013, as part of its €2 billion cost-cutting programme.

The airline said that it is in talks with unions for an agreement for reducing its 49,301 strong workforce at its French unit Air France by 5,122.

Air France-KLM, which emerged from the 2004 merger between Air France and the Netherlands KLM, said that it is seeking 3,410 voluntary departures and 1,712 positions that will not be refilled after personnel retire. The voluntary departures include 2,056 ground staff, 904 flight attendants and 450 pilots.

Air France said that it would try to avoid compulsory layoffs by pursuing early retirement and attrition, voluntary redundancies, part-time working and work sharing, but warned that forced redundancies are ''unavoidable'' if unions reject its restructuring plan.

"If the agreements are signed, the accompanying measures to reduce staff numbers will exclude the use of forced departures before the end of 2013," the airline said in a statement.

Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of Air France, said, "Air France is facing a fundamental choice about its future . if we all make the necessary equitably distributed efforts, there will be no forced departures."