Saturday 28 November 2020

Crisis talks at KLM as last minute hitches hit cost cutting deal

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Dutch flag carrier KLM has failed to reach a definitive agreement on an efficiency drive which is a key condition for a government bail-out, several Dutch papers report on Friday.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, the airline has not managed to finalise a deal on cost cutting with the unions, putting the €3.4bn government package into doubt.

Despite earlier reaching an agreement, unions representing cabin and ground crew now say they are unhappy that pilots have negotiated a better cost cutting package, the FD says. Unions and KLM chief Pieter Elbers will now hold emergency talks with the unions on Friday afternoon, the FD said.

Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra has pledged to give his reaction to the restructuring plan by the end of this month.

However, according to the Telegraaf, government sources suggest the cabinet has run out of patience with the company, unions and pilots, and Hoekstra is inclined not to support the package as it now stands.

The package so far envisages 5,000 job losses by the end of the year – or around 15% of the total workforce pre coronavirus crisis.

Third quarter

Parent company Air France-KLM said on Friday the group had made a net loss of €1.67bn in the third quarter, as passenger numbers fell 70% to 8.8 million. KLM posted a loss of €234m which would have been as high as €500m without government support for paying salaries.

‘These figures show again how bad things still are in aviation,’ Elbers said. ‘To keep the company going and protect as many jobs as possible, the loans and guarantees from the Dutch state are crucial.’

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