Author: Christopher Weyer

LONDON – Air France pilots have agreed on the new pay deal which has been put forward by the airline.

Since last year many pilots had been showing their verbal distaste to the contract offered to them. The new deal signed yesterday, however, means that the problem, for now, would appear to be solved.

The agreement remains open until February 22nd 2019, however, it is unlikely that it will not be approved as the SNPL who represents 75.9 per cent of pilots votes, cast in favour of the new agreement.

It now means that after many months of discussion Chief Executive Officer Benjinum Smith now has the freedom he needs to continue to push forward with his plans of reform in the airline.

In a statement yesterday Benjamin Smith said: “I wish to thank the pilots for massively approving this agreement. This agreement forms the basis of a strong culture that acknowledges their leadership.”

“After the Mandatory Annual Negotiation (NAO) agreements already signed with all our stakeholders, Air France-KLM is now in a position to begin implementing more ambitious plans and winning back its European leadership position”,

This new agreement means that pilots will see an average pay increase of 4.3 per cent in addition to new and improved flexibility.

Air France, which has two pilot unions had given this deal a preliminary backing, last month, however, the larger union group the SNPL had elected to hold off on signing it until the pilots were consulted in a vote.

The 4.3 per cent pay increase for pilots in this new agreement has come on top of a 4 per cent pay increase granted to all the airline’s employees last year.

Despite the larger increase in wages, Smith will be happy that for now, the situation appears to be put to bed, with him now accomplishing what his predecessor could not, with last years talks failing, seeing rotating strikes and a companywide vote to have him removed from his position.

It may not all be plain sailing for Smith, however, after the second pilot union represent Air France’s pilots, SPAF, all be it the smaller of the two parties opposed the agreement on Tuesday, saying that they did not feel that it guaranteed that work would not be moved away from Air France and be given to partner airline KLM.

For now, though it would appear that Smith is content in that the agreement will go through with both unions, with his first call of order now to get Air France and KLM closer together in terms of profitability.

He has already begun to announce plans on how this is going to be done, with the airline electing to retire their A380’s earlier than many had thought and with the companies announcement to close down the Joon brand later this year.

Smith said that “Air France and KLM, which merged in 2004 need to operate more like a single company”

So it would appear that the recent problems at Air France appear to be over, but Smith will surely be keeping an eye on what SPAF decides to do on their woes on what this new agreement may mean for the airline’s pilots.