14-day pilot strike cost Air France around $631 million, company says

PARIS – Air France-KLM says a 14-day pilots’ strike that grounded about half the airline’s flights cost the company 500 million euros ($631 million).

The company gave the estimate in a statement Wednesday, and said it hoped to accelerate development of Transavia, a low-cost affiliate that was at the centre of the standoff. The pilots union said it was not against plans for the new business, but objected to the proposed labour conditions. They fear that the company will outsource their jobs to countries with lower taxes and labour costs.

Air France is hoping Transavia will tap into new markets in France and elsewhere in Europe, allowing it to compete with the low-cost carriers that have cut into the once-dominant market share held by giant European airlines.