The good news: to better compete with low-cost airlines (to whom Air France is losing money hand-over-fist), Air France is restructuring its hub system to create mini-hubs in Marseilles (starting in October) and then in Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux (all by next spring), which will allow them to offer Air France comfort at low-cost prices.
Currently, all Air France personnel live in Paris, so to start the day in Nice they must either fly there or spend the night there, which costs the company a lot of money and drains valuable time out of the employee’s limited 38-hour work week. With the mini-hub concept, there will be local flight crews that live in Nice and fly out of Nice, which is much more efficient, and the cost savings will be passed onto the consumer. Imagine…a low-cost ticket that doesn’t require you to fly like cattle! Low-cost without forgoing the luxury of free checked luggage, generous carry-on policies, comfortable seats that actually recline, newspapers, beverages and snacks, pillows, and assigned seats instead of the cattle call… heaven! But French Unions feel that any ‘heaven’ must be paid for by many weekends of hell, which brings me to…
The bad news: Part of this restructure obviously means a lot of staff changes and reassignments, including some reductions in cabin crews. So starting Saturday, just in time for the long All Saint’s Day weekend and the G20 arrivals, the Air France flight crews are going on a 5-day strike to make sure that absolutely everyone is punished for daring to inconvenience their work schedules. Here’s an impressive real quote from a Union press release, that pretty much sums it up: ”We refuse to become victims of productivity!”
Photo credit: Philippe Noret AirTeamimages, licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic