PARIS: Air France says its pilot strike that ended on September 28 has cost the company over €300 million in lost revenue. On October 08, the airline is expected to announce a revised figure that reports estimate will be nearer €400 million.
The airline has not reached any agreement with its pilots over a €1 billion plan to expand its low-cost Transavia subsidiary despite an open letter to customers on October 01 that declared: "We are now going to step up development of Transavia, the Air France-KLM Group's low-cost airline, in order to compete with our rivals on a level playing field."
The disruption to Air France's cargo business ironically has been good short-term news for KLM's Martinair subsidiary that is faced with the disposal of its MD-11 freighter fleet beginning next year. Unaffected by the strike, KLM and Martinair will have benefitted from the sudden increase in demand for capacity.
Also in early October, Martinair's works council presented a "rescue" plan to Air France KLM management. Chairman Wout Pronk said the plan calls for fleet renewal with government support in order to avoid a further erosion of the airline's business.
Meanwhile Cargolux, which took delivery of its 11th B747-8 freighter "City of Zhengzhou‟ at the beginning of October (right), would have been another recipient of any unexpected switch in Air France cargo business – particularly to China.
The airline, currently operating three times a week to Zhengzhou, says it will be increasing flights to "multiple daily" in the near future: "In addition to the economic, operational and environmental advantages that the aircraft brings, we can also boost our traffic and revenues in cooperation with our Chinese partners, while customers benefit from the efficient and fast services we can offer," said Cargolux president and CEO Dirk Reich.