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Air France appoints new chief

Air France has named Anne Rigail as its new chief executive.

Rigail, who has been serving as the French flag carrier's EVP customer, will take up her new position on 17 December.

Air France-KLM group chief Ben Smith has been filling the role on an acting basis since September, following the resignation of Franck Terner.

Group chair Anne-Marie Couderc credits Smith with "outstanding work" during his stint as the unit's interim chief, adding: "Under his leadership, our airline has rapidly taken decisive steps, renewing constructive social dialogue and proposing a new executive governance structure, as seen with the arrival of Anne Rigail."

Smith describes Rigail as "a strong professional in the airline industry".

After five years with Air Inter, she joined Air France in 1996, as head of customer services at Paris Orly. She was appointed as director of passenger and baggage connections at the French capital's Charles de Gaulle hub in 1999, and subsequently as head of customer and baggage products for ground operations.

After taking charge of the hub's operations control centre in 2005, she was promoted to vice-president of ground operations there in 2009. She went on to serve as executive vice-president of in-flight services, from 2013, before becoming EVP customer in 2017.

"Throughout her career, she has always paid particular attention to employees while implementing the many projects and transformations she has led," notes Smith, adding: "I have complete faith that Anne will succeed in transforming Air France."

Rigail declares her "confidence in Benjamin's winning strategy" and states: "I share his enthusiasm in expanding the Air France brand around the world."

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