Dutch gov't won't intervene in Air France-KLM problems

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The Dutch government will not take any concrete measures to help Air France-KLM cope with the unrest on the French side of the airline, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge both said, in different words, on Wednesday, NU.nl reports.

Air France employees are striking for a 5 percent wage increase. The strikes cost Air France 75 million euros so far, and resulted in the resignation of Air France-KLM's CEO last week. 

"No wage conflict is up to the government to solve", De Jonge said after the council of ministers on Wednesday. He pointed out that the airline cooperation Air France-KLM is de facto a French company. The French government owns 14.3 percent shares in the group, while the Dutch government only owns 6 percent of KLM alone. According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Air France-KLM will not be saved by the government. "The peace must return and the competitive position musth be strengthened."

The Dutch government does not intend to buy shares in Air France-KLM in order to gain influence in the company, Hoekstra said earlier on Wednesday. "It is in the interest of the company that calm returns quickly. You do not have to be a business expert to know that the aviation market is very competitive. That means that the company will also have to pay attention to the costs and wage costs."

The French government also made it clear several times that it will not get the airline out of trouble. The costs of the strike are expected to increase to 300 million euros this year, according to the newspaper. KLM showed good figures in the first quarter.

Due to the economic interests of KLM in the Netherlands, the Dutch government members emphasize that a solution must be found to the labor dispute at Air France. They are in contact with their French counterparts, but the solution must come from the company and not the government, De Jonge said.