May 11, 2018 / 5:40 AM / 4 months ago

Air France-KLM suffers fall in April traffic numbers, blames French strikes

PARIS, May 11 (Reuters) - Air France-KLM on Friday said traffic had fallen 2.6 percent in April and blamed a wave of strikes over pay conditions at the French brand, that last week forced the chief-executive of the Franco-Dutch group to resign.

Air France needs to cut costs to keep up with leaner rivals in Europe, including its sister company KLM, but it has come up against strong resistance from unions representing its pilots, cabin crews and ground staff.

Air France employees’ reluctance to back reforms and the ensuing management fall-out inside the airline has left some aviation analysts asking how long the alliance may last.

KLM passenger numbers rose by 5.2 percent year-on-year in April, while Air France’s dropped 8.7 percent, reflecting the diverging fortunes of the two brands. Overall, the group carried 8.2 million passengers, down 2.5 percent from a year ago.

Jean-Marc Janaillac said last Friday that he was resigning as CEO after staff rejected a pay deal that he had put to a vote after talks with the unions reached a deadlock.

Air France-KLM’s board is due to meet next week to appoint an interim transition team to succeed Janaillac, who lasted less than two years in the job. (Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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