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Air France, pilots reach tentative Transavia deal

ATW Daily News by Alan Dron 16 Oct.14

Air France-KLM Group and its pilot unions have reached an agreement over one of the most fractious aspects of the recent damaging strike by the cockpit crews.

A major area of dispute during the 10-day strike was Air France Group’s plans for its Transavia low-cost (LCC) subsidiary. Transavia currently operates only from France and the Netherlands with around 50 Boeing 737s, but the parent group wanted to double it in size and transform it into a Europe-wide brand, with bases in several other countries.

Pilots unions wanted the same pay for all pilots across the Group, something Air France management resisted, saying that paying mainline salaries at the LCC would kill it.

Air France eventually agreed to scrap its plans for Transavia Europe and said it would press ahead only with plans to expand Transavia France.

In a statement Thursday, the carrier said it had reached a draft agreement on Transavia France’s development. More details are due to be announced Friday at a special board meeting of pilots’ union SNPL Air France ALPA. The agreement will then be submitted to a referendum of its members and those of SNPL Transavia.

Under the tentative deal, development of Transavia France beyond its current size of 14 Boeing 737s will take place from summer 2015 “in order to accelerate the Group's development on the rapidly expanding leisure market.

“Pilots flying for Transavia France will be employed under Transavia France operating and remuneration conditions to ensure the company's competitiveness and its development as a complement to the Air France network. Moreover, two co-existing contracts (Transavia France and Air France) will be implemented for Air France pilots flying for Transavia France.”

As part of the deal, there will be a single seniority list.

Air France has also agreed to seek the agreement of SNPL Air France ALPA and SNPL Transavia, before implementing any future changes in working conditions and pay at Transavia France.

“Air France considers that this balanced solution, the result of a responsible and peaceful social dialogue, will lead to the rapid development of Transavia France and an increased value added for the benefit of its customers and staff,” according to the statement.