Union boss suggesting KLM could split from Air France

KLM has to deal with a half a billion euro loss because of the pilot strike of Air France. According to trade union De Unie, a stand-alone, with KLM continuing without Air France, is a possibility.

Swen Laarveld from the union thinks that all options must be considered.

"If the best plan is that KLM must break away from Air France, you have to seriously look at it. But I do not think that is the solution" said Laarveld on BNR yesterday.

Substantial cutbacks will have to be made at the airline after the loss they've suffered, otherwise they could be facing bankruptcy.

"It is worrying. Air France-KLM is suffering heavy losses" says aviation expert Hans Heerkens of the Technical University Twente. "Aviation has never been a gravy train, so they are not the only ones. But the problem is that, as was also shown by the pilot strike, it is difficult for KLM to find an answer on the low cost carriers. Then there's added that they will soon fly longer distances - that is even already underway. On those long distance routes airlines such as Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways make their profits. And they actually have no good answer on it."

A stand-alone for KLM is "definitely not simply better", says Heerkens. "Firstly it was not a merger but a takeover. So Air France is used to KLM being the boss and will not find it good if KLM continues alone. They will only find it good if there is a buyer who will shell out the money for this"

Heerkens points out that finding a new partner is a process of years. "Joining a new alliance is also a process of years. KLM is also tied to the alliance with Delta and Air France together. An acquisition by Delta can not simply happen because it is a company from another trading block, not from the EU. And independent existence is very dangerous for a company from a small country with a small domestic market. You can not compete against all major alliances around you"