Air France strike costs €500mn


French flag carrier Air France says the recent two-week strike by its pilots is estimated to have an impact of about 500 million euros ($632 million) on its 2014 revenues.

The figure includes the lost revenue during the industrial action as well as the cost to its reputation, Pierre-Francois Riolacci, the Air France financial director, said on Wednesday.

“We need a few more days to finalize completely our estimates. But we think the impact on the third quarter will be in a range of 320-350 million euros.”

According to Riolacci, the problems of discontent passengers will continue to affect the airline well into the beginning of the next year.

Pilots of Europe’s second largest carrier went on strike between September 15 and 28 in protest against planned expansion of Air France’s low-cost subsidiary, Transavia France. The action was the longest ever to hit Air France.

The pilots ended their strike without reaching a deal over the planned expansion.

The stoppage grounded thousands of Air France flights. According to the airline, the walkout “had disastrous consequences for customers, employees and the company’s finances.”

The pilots are outraged by lower payments proposed at Transavia compared with Air France’s mainline business.

The carrier says its plans to run more Transavia flights at the expense of other Air France operations are part of attempts to regain ground in the European low-budget travel market already dominated by other airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet.

The pilots, however, say the carrier’s intention to base Transavia crews around Europe will lead to job losses in France.

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