Spinetta warns unions of possible freeze on capacity

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Air France-KLM boss Jean-Cyril Spinetta has warned staff of tough times ahead with the possibility of zero growth over the next two years and is offering "no absolute guarantees" concerning job prospects.

An Air France spokesman confirms chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta had addressed airline unions, although this referred only to the French rather than Dutch labour organisations.

"The chairman outlined to the Air France Central Works Council the importance of the air transport industry in the financial crisis," says the spokesman. "He underlined the commitment to protect employment, even if there can be no absolute guarantee due to the global situation."

Spinetta is forecasting "a hypothetical scenario" where zero capacity growth will occur for 2009/10 and warns that extra vigilance will be necessary on natural cost increases.

"The consequences of zero capacity growth in such a difficult context [mean] it is even more crucial to keep costs stable," says the spokesman, adding: "Air France-KLM is entering this extremely delicate period bolstered by strong assets of a good network, modern fleet and significant market share."