Plans by airline KLM to increase the bonus of chief executive Pieter Elbers to 100% of his salary are not supported by the Dutch government, which has a 14% stake in the Air France-KLM combine.
In addition, any eventual state support for the airline, which has seen ticket sales collapse because of coronavirus, would involve conditions about wages and bonuses, a ministry spokesman has told broadcaster NOS.
‘We do not think raising bonuses at this moment would be sensible and we will make that plain to KLM, including at next week’s AGM,’ the spokesman said.
The Dutch and French finance ministries are thought to be supportive of a bail-out for the airline so that it can meet its fixed costs, now almost all the fleet has been grounded.
Elbers earns €525,000 a year plus a maximum bonus of up to 75% of that. KLM wants to increase that to 100%, in line with the situation at the French arm of the country and set the process in motion last year.
KLM has already said no bonuses will be paid this year and there will be no profit sharing or dividends until after the crisis is over.
KLM, which has asked for support to pay its permanent staff, has already let 2,000 people on flexible contracts go, despite the government’s urging to keep them on.
Meanwhile, Dick Benschop, chairman of the Schiphol airport group, says in Trouw he expects that traffic will not get back to normal at the airport until 2023 at the earliest.
Benschop said he wanted a ‘controlled recovery’ and to research how the airport can make its operations more sustainable, creating ‘a better balance’ between the airport and its surroundings ‘which experience the nuisance’.
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