Air France has reportedly proposed delaying some cost cuts in a bid to avert a planned strike by flight attendants (Les Echos, 19-Mar-2010). The proposal includes delaying 200 job cuts for a year. Air France’s flight attendants have stated they would stage a four-day strike between 28-Mar-2010 and 31-Mar-2010, in protest at the company's EUR54 million austerity plan, as part of which the airline plans to increase short and medium-haul productivity by 20%. The walkout coincides with the second group of British Airways strikes on 28-Mar-2010, with TAP Portugal's pilots also planning a walk out from 26-Mar-2010 to 31-Mar-2010.
Air France to delay some cost cuts in a bid to avert a planned strike by cabin crew: reports
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Airline strikes: 2016 a peak year for Europe's legacy airlines. Wakeup time, as LCCs pick them off
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To a large extent labour unrest grows as airline industry profits increase. However, rather than hoping for an industry downturn to reverse the rise in the cycle of strikes, airline CEOs are talking tough – a line long taken by IAG's Willie Walsh. Lufthansa's Carsten Spohr has said that taking on the pilots is "about the future of Lufthansa", noting that it has “no chance of survival" if it gives in to pay demands (Bloomberg, 24-Nov-2016).
Brexit follow-up Part 3: Gulf airlines, Turkish lose UK ally in M/E talks as protectionism spreads
The Brexit referendum produced a vote for the United Kingdom to leave the EU, although this process has not yet been formally invoked. In the scope of aviation, one outcome is the potential loss of the UK in shaping air service agreement negotiations. The UK has been a liberalising voice, one that often counterbalanced more protectionist views from France and Germany. The UK is often able to galvanise the smaller EU states too.
The EU now has mandates to negotiate open skies with states, including the UAE, Qatar, Turkey and the ASEAN bloc. The UAE and Qatar, home to the three Gulf network airlines, are expected to produce the most contentious negotiations. France and Germany will surely takes cues from Air France and Lufthansa to impede Gulf growth. In this light there are questions about whether the talks are genuinely motivated, or merely designed to draw out the discussion and thereby not produce any additional traffic rights while under negotiation.
What Air France and Lufthansa need is a real, lasting solution, rather than persevering Canute-like with stonewalling. Although a partnership seems logical, they may have waited too long. The Gulf airlines have found that they can succeed on their own.