Air France-KLM denied it plans to cut 5,000 jobs by 2015 through a voluntary redundancy plan, as reported by French daily Le Figaro.
The paper said Air France-KLM, which employs 103,000 staff, would try to speed up natural attrition. Every year, about 800 people leave the company, but Le Figaro said it wants to double that number with a voluntary redundancy plan that would be open to all staff members.
“For the moment there are absolutely no negotiations about possible job cuts, these are just rumours,” an Air France-KLM spokeswoman told reporters.
Air France-KLM on May 4 told unions the company needs deep cuts in labour costs as it battles low-cost rivals and record fuel prices.
So far, Air France-KLM has said it would try to avoid forced redundancies, but is calling for 20 percent efficiency gains in the airline’s network by 2014.
The Franco-Dutch airline is negotiating the second and most difficult stage of a restructuring plan that aims to shed EUR€2 billion (USD$2.6 billion) of both debt and operating costs over three years.
It says its labour contracts stand in the way of heading off growing competition from low-cost carriers led by Ryanair and easyJet and a historic fuel bill which is set to rise by EUR€1 billion in 2012.
Air France-KLM, formed in 2004 from the French and Dutch flagship carriers, is 15.8 percent owned by the French government.
Europe’s other leading legacy carriers, like Air France-KLM, are confronting losses in their short-haul operations, leading to a wave of painful contract negotiations and strikes.