Traffic figures for European air carriers due out this week are expected to confirm the Air France-KLM Group as Europe’s number one regional operator in terms of revenue passenger kilometres, according to latest assessments.
Air France-KLM has ranked as Europe’s biggest airline since its formation in 2004.
An analysis published in the Salt Lake Tribune, however, says that the numbers are deceptive and “by a host of other measures, the carrier looks distinctly second rate”.
The analysis, compiled by Bloomberg, goes on to say that shares of Air France-KLM fell 12% last year as chief executive Alexandre De Juniac’s restructuring faltered. It says that Air France-KLM “trails Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa, the European No. 2 by traffic, in revenue, is dwarfed by British Airways parent IAG, the No. 3, in value, and has had four years of losses”.
In market capitalisation, Air France-KLM is dwarfed by Lufthansa and IAG.
Hurdles the French/Dutch airline group faces include higher labour costs at Air France, problems with Fench unions and meddling by the French government, which owns a 15.88% stake.
The problems were illustrated graphically in October when an angry mob of disgruntled workers chanting “Clothes off!” (in French) stormed an Air France management meeting and ripped a manager’s shirt off as he tried to escape. See: Angry ‘clothes off!’ mob rips airline manager’s shirt off
The French carrier is 20% behind Lufthansa in sales.
Written by William Sykes