KLM boss: Air France pilots strike “destructive,” harms Dutch airline

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KLM CEO Pieter Elbers is concerned that the strike Air France pilots have planned for Saturday, one day after the start of the European Championships in France, will lead to reputation damage that will also effect the Dutch airline. In a message to the KLM staff, he called it a "destructive strike", NOS reports.

Elbers reassures the staff that the financial loss caused by the strike will completely be carried by Air France, even thought the French and Dutch airlines are part of the same group. But he is worried about KLM's reputation.

"Air France is, like KLM, working with all employees to take steps on the road of recovery. The first results of this are just visible", he said, implying that a strike now is very inconvenient. The CEO hopes that Air France and the pilots can reach an agreement before Saturday.

Air France-KLM is cutting billions of euros in costs in the coming years. That means salary cuts, including for the pilots. KLM managed to come to an agreement about this with its pilots, but so far Air France has not.

On Sunday Steven Verhagen, president of the Dutch association for airline pilots VNV, called the strike "uncontrolled mutiny" in the Telegraaf. According to him, it looks like the Air France-KLM management has lost control of the airlines. "Agreements must be made with the unions. I see little movement from the management", he said. "It seems like they think nothing more can be done at Air France-KLM. It is time for the new chairman to take office and intervene. This can not go on."

Jean-Marc Janaillac is taking over as CEO of Air France-KLM on August 1st. According to the Telegraaf, the Air France staff wants to mark the CEO changing with a strike. It would give current CEO Alexandre de Juniac, who is not well regarded by the unions, a fitting farewell and show Janaillac where he stands.