French airline Air France is to cut more than 5,000 jobs by the end of 2013, in a bid to lower costs and return to growth as the carrier struggles with rising fuel bills and greater competition.
The restructuring will see the departure of just under 10 percent of Air France’s total workforce of 53,000, and forms part of a major three-year cost-saving plan launched by the French-Dutch Air France-KLM group in January 2012 to cut net debt by around $2.5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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Under pressure from France’s newly-elected Socialist administration, Air France has undertaken to try to avoid forced redundancies by offering incentives for employees to retire early, depart voluntarily, work on a part-time basis or enter into work-sharing arrangements with cabin and cockpit crew, according to Reuters. But the airline warned that forced layoffs would be “unavoidable” if unions refused to cooperate with the plans.
According to the BBC, the airline estimates that around 1,700 jobs may be lost through natural turnover. Shares in Air France jumped 6 percent following the announcement, the Agence France Presse reported.
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