CityJet staff strike over Air France-KLM restructure plan

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Air France-KLM has encountered the first trade union opposition to its Transform 2015 restructuring programme with pilots and cabin crew at its CityJet regional subsidiary currently engaged in a seventh day of strike action.

The carrier group hopes Transform 2015 will help it reduce its debt of around €6.5 billion ($7.4 billion) by €2 billion within three years. However, staff at CityJet are concerned that the Ireland-based carrier has been excluded by Air France from its plan to restructure its regional operations.

Air France announced in May that subsidiaries Regional and Britair, as well as regional carrier Airlinair, will operate flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle on its behalf, point-to-point flights from Paris Orly and on the French domestic network.

But in an open letter to Air France chief executive Alexandre de Juniac, CityJet's management demands that it also be included in the restructured regional operation.

One pilot at the airline, who asked to remain anonymous, tells Flightglobal: "Our main demand is that the network flown by CityJet out of Paris remains within the group and that the CityJet personnel based in Paris are part of the equation."

He says while the company is Dublin-based, more than 50% of its services are to Paris, feeding Air France's Charles de Gaulle hub.

"Since we are part of the Air France-KLM group we should be part of the Transform 2015 plan," he says.

Striking cabin crew and pilots are demanding inclusion in the plan as well as the same employment rights for CityJet staff, many of who are employed on Irish contracts, as afforded to their Air France counterparts employed on French contracts.

CityJet made a pre-tax loss of €54.8 million ($69.5 million) for the year ended 31 March 2011 according to results filed at Ireland's Companies Registration Office.