Air France chairman Christian Blanc is putting pressure on flight attendants to accept a two-tier pay structure. The latest bid to cut costs follows a management reshuffle at the end of August.

Blanc has commissioned a study by Munich-based consultants Roland, Berger and Partner which shows that cabin crew productivity is lagging behind other European majors. Compared to Lufthansa, on average Air France cabin attendants work 9 per cent less annual flying hours, for salaries that are 30 per cent higher.

The report is intended to pressure cabin crew unions into accepting a lower pay structure for new recruits, says a source at Air France. Air France cabin crew costs are higher because the average age is 37 against 30 at Lufthansa, explains the source. Combined with the higher salaries, the management have identified room for improved efficiency.

The recent management reshuffle at Air France has seen Blanc assume the role of managing director previously held by Rodolphe Franz, who was 'pushed out', according to the source. Blanc, in turn, has relinquished the Air Inter presidency to Jean-Pierre Courcol, who comes from French publishing house Phillipe Amaury.

Blanc has also established an 18-member advisory committee aimed at simplifying the reporting process. Those on the committee include the two new deputy managing directors Patrice Durand, a former government finance official, and Marc Veron, from sales. The EVP planning and development, Rakesh Gangwal and his former boss at United Airlines Stephen Wolf will also sit on the committee.

Source: Airline Business