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Air France-KLM chief says alliance with Alitalia would not lead to job cuts


Paris (XFNews-ASIA) - A possible alliance between Air France-KLM and the Italian national carrier Alitalia would not lead to cutbacks in jobs, chief executive of Air France-KLM, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, said Sunday on Europe 1 radio.

"I am responsible for 100,000 employees," he said. "I would not embark on a foolish project. It would have to bring value and not drain the resources of the Air France-KLM group," he said.

"It is not going to come at the price of job cuts... after two, three, four difficult years for the Air France-KLM group," he added.

Air France-KLM and the financially troubled Italian airline said Thursday they had begun tentative talks on a possible alliance, but the French company has laid down restructuring of the Italian carrier as a condition.

While French President Jacques Chirac has called the proposal "desirable", Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi told the French newspaper Le Figaro he had "many doubts" about a deal between the two airlines, adding that he wanted to know "the true intentions of Air France".

"I have no ambition to grab hold of the Italian market," Spinetta said in Sunday's radio interview.

Air France and Alitalia have had commercial links since July 2001, and Spinetta said "relations with Alitalia have always included the prospect of an eventual merger".

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