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Coronavirus: Air France to axe more than 7,500 jobs

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Air France (AF.PA) said it plans to cut more than 7,500 jobs as it tries to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, during which it said its activity and revenue fell by 95%.

Some 6,560 employees will be axed from Air France, while 1,020 cuts will be made at its regional French carrier Hop!, the company announced.

Air France explained that “at the height of the crisis,” it was losing €15m (£13.5m, $16.9m) per day.  

It said “recovery looks set to be very slow due to the uncertainties regarding the health situation, the lifting of travel restrictions and changing commercial demand. In this way, even on the basis of ambitious recovery assumptions, Air France predicts that it will not see the same level of activity as in 2019 before 2024.”

READ MORE: UK aerospace industry faces ‘very bleak future’ without government aid

The airline added it is working with unions “to give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement arrangements and professional and geographical mobility.”

This  plan will be presented at the end of July.

A PA report said activists from several unions protested at Air France headquarters at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport when talks had begun on the morning of 3 July about future job prospects.

Workers warned that job cuts will ripple across the French economy, and said bailout funds should be used to rebuild the company instead of pushing people into unemployment.

A particular concern was that the French government did not require Air France to protect jobs when it won €7bn euros in state bailout funds in May.

In its statement, Air France said the funds will enable it “to withstand the crisis in the short term.”

Airlines around the world are forecast to lose $84bn this year, with revenue halved.

Some have filed for bankruptcy or sought bailouts to survive the near-shutdown in their activity, and officials predict the industry will take years to recover.