KLM has reached an agreement with the FNV Cabine, FNV Luchtvaart and VNV unions – representing flight attendants, ground personnel and pilots – clearing the Dutch carrier to receive €3.4 billion ($4 billion) in government loans and guarantees.
A settlement between the airline and the unions is a condition of the assistance being released, the Dutch government has stipulated. At the end of October it froze a tranche of aid to KLM pending an agreement between the parties.
The unions have now signed the airline’s “commitment clause”, joining other KLM staff in agreeing to amendments in their pay and working conditions for five years.
“The loan package is crucial to securing the future of KLM and its network for the Netherlands,” says the airline.
Trade unions CNV, De Unie, NVLT, VNC and VKP had already signed the commitment clause. “The way is now clear for the minister to assess whether KLM still meets the set conditions,” says VNV, representing pilots.
KLM chief executive Pieter Elbers states that the agreement will allow the carrier to “be focused forward and outward, so that together we can rebuild our route network for our customers and continue to connect the world with and via the Netherlands”.
The airline submitted a restructuring plan on 1 October, but has been trying to secure commitments from unions over labour contributions which, as a condition of the loan, need to run for the loan’s full term.
Air France-KLM Group made operating losses of €234 million in the three months to 30 September and just over €1 billion in the first nine months of this year.