By Victoria Moores, ATW Daily News | May 03, 2017
Air France has shared draft terms for its new Boost long-haul operation with pilot unions and set a May 31 deadline for their response.
"What is at stake is Air France's future and its ability to embark on a new phase of sustainable growth and recovery," Air France chairman Jean-Marc Janaillac said, detailing the draft agreement May 3.
The proposed terms, which were hammered out over four months of negotiations, pave the way for Boost to be created as a wholly owned Air France subsidiary, manned by Air France pilots.
Air France said Boost will be capped at 18 medium-haul aircraft and 10 long-haul aircraft, with a guaranteed "production balance." The fleet is likely to be made up of Airbus A350s and A320s.
"The economic contribution of pilots related to the creation of the new airline will be shared by all pilots," Air France said.
There are also training provisions, along with productivity measures, such as one fewer rest day on medium-haul rotations and an A330 and A350 cabin optimization, but Air France has backed down on a proposed night shift bonus that was planned under its Transform 2015 cost-cutting program.
"This draft agreement is a positive, ambitious and balanced compromise, which enables us to settle a large number of major topics that have been under discussion between Air France and its pilots for several years," Janaillac said.
The Boost project was unveiled as part of Air France's Trust Together strategic plan in November 2016 in a bid to regain the offensive in the face of strong Gulf carrier competition and to stem losses on Air France's weakest long-haul routes.
Under the initial plan, Paris Charles de Gaulle-based Boost was slated to be a lower-cost, long-haul airline that would operate 10 aircraft by 2020 in a two-class layout. The product is slated to be simple, modern, innovative and 100% connected.
Boost received backing from the majority of Air France's pilots in February and is set to be created this fall. Boost is just a working name; the airline itself will ultimately be branded differently.