Julian Moxon/PARIS

THE DIRECTOR-general of Air France domestic carrier Air France Europe (formerly Air Inter), Jean-Pierre Courcol, has resigned after a year in the job. He becomes the fourth president to leave the post in five years.

Courcol was appointed by Air France president Christian Blanc in July 1995 to manage the fusion of the two airlines, but became increasingly embroiled in battles with Air France Europe's unions over his restructuring plan.

Although he gives no specific reason for the move, Courcol appears to have wanted to press home the point that the airline had no choice but to cut jobs and merge with Air France if it was to survive.

In his resignation letter, Courcol says that "-the formidable economic war that the major airlines are facing, and the situation Air France Europe is in-has convinced me that fusion [with Air France] has become the only way to maintain employment and to achieve the two-year recovery plan that I have put in place".

The plan hit trouble at the beginning of July, when pilots refused to agree to the same working conditions as those of Air France, whose pilots earn an average of 15% less. Courcol also wanted to cut 950 jobs (from the 11,000 total) over the two-year period. On 26 August, the unions rejected the plan, saying that there was "no economic justification" for the cuts.

Courcol will not be replaced directly. Marc Veron, current director-general of Air France, will become responsible for the fusion of the two airlines.

Source: Flight International