A number of Air France’s long-haul flights and frequencies are under threat as labour disputes continue to impact on the airline’s bottom line.
To restore long-term profitability after four years of losses, the airline said it would need to launch a drastic restructuring plan of its long-haul network. This will see the airline close five routes as well as substantially reduce long-haul frequencies by 2017.
The schedule modifications will focus primarily on routes where losses are the highest, such as Asia and the Middle East. Spokesperson for Air France, Ulli Gendrot, told TAM she couldn’t give any information as to whether South African routes would be affected by the restructuring plan. Details of which destinations will suffer a drop in frequencies will only be communicated over the next few months.
Air France foresees that its long-haul capacity will decline by around 10% between 2015 and 2017. The airline’s long-haul fleet will be scaled back by 14 aircraft, from 107 aircraft in operation during the 2015 European summer to 93 in the 2017 European summer. This adjustment will be made through the accelerated retirement of Airbus A340s, which will not be replaced by Boeing 787s as initially planned. In 2016 and 2017, the related capex reduction could reach up to €200m (R3bn).
The airline will also need to cut approximately 2 900 jobs. It is expected that 300 pilots, 900 cabin crew and 1 700 ground staff will be affected.