Dutch, French government agree: No KLM flights transferred to Air France
Both the French and Dutch government agree that Air France and KLM should not pass their problems to the other, Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance said to the Council of Ministers on Friday. Dijsselbloem spoke to his French counterpart on Thursday and he agrees that "the problems of one company can not be solved by beating a hole in the other", the Dutch minister said, ANP reports.
Air France pilots are striking from Saturday. They are against cost cuts and a capacity reduction the airline has planned and demand that some flights are transferred from Schiphol to France to create more work for Air France. This is would be detrimental to KLM, and the Dutch government is very much set against it. So is the French government, according to Dijsselbloem.
Dijsselbloem repeated that KLM is a private company with private shareholders. The Dutch state is but a small shareholder in the airline. So the pressure the Netherlands can exert is limited. "Real influence must simply come from the relationship with France and the importance of good cooperation. On that we and the French politicians agree", he said. The French government is in the same position as a minority shareholder in Air France.
The Dutch Finance Minister previously stated that there is the option of the Dutch state buying more shares in Air France-KLM in order to protect Dutch interests. On Friday he said that this option will only be taken in an emergency and to prevent KLM from going under. He will keep a close eye on mattes. "We really need to be careful that no wrong agreements come from the conflict between the Air France leadership and employees", he said.
On Friday Air France announced that a quarter of their pilots will be on strike from Saturday, June 11th, to Tuesday, June 14th - coinciding with the start of the European Football Championship in France. The airline expects that about 20 percent of its flights will have to be cancelled due to the strike, costing Air France an estimated 5 million euros a day.