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Air France-KLM gains on talks of cost reductions, British Airways higher, while Lufthansa stumbles

Shares in Air France-KLM gained 0.4% yesterday as investors welcomed the carrier’s confirmation of plans to further reduce employee costs over the coming years. Air France-KLM CEO, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, told Bloomberg, the carrier will continue to reduce its employee headcount at a “similar rhythm in the years to come”.

Mr Gourgeon referred to recent job cuts of 2,000 employees in the 12 months ended 31-Mar-09 and the carrier plans to cut an additional 3,000 employees this year. The announcement comes as forecast improvements in passenger traffic failed to “materalise” in May/Jun-2009.

Lufthansa’s shares dipped 0.9% yesterday as the carrier announced plans to offer additional concessions to the European Commission to secure faster approval for planned takeover of Austrian Airlines. Lufthansa’s share price reduction suggests investors are nervous about another acquisition, while Austrian Airlines’ shares slumped 4.6%.

Elsewhere, British Airways (BA) shares were up 1.6%. Investors may see more progress on BA and Iberia Airlines merger talks, now that Iberia Airlines Executive Chairman and CEO, Fernando Conte, has stepped down from his position. Iberia shares gained 1.7% yesterday.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 09-Jul-09