At a Schiphol Airport press conference on March 16, Air France-KLM announced major job cuts at its all-cargo subsidiary Martinair, which has been in financial trouble since Air France and KLM merged in 2004.
Our sister publication, Cargo Facts, reported that 330 Martinair employees, including 110 of the carrier’s 140 pilots, would be let go. Additionally, 170 ground jobs and 50 from on-board personnel will be laid off. After the reorganization, 85 pilots will be left at Martinair.
“We deeply regret the social consequences, but these steps are unavoidable if the cargo business is to have a durable future,” said Marcel de Nooijer, managing director and executive vice president of Martinair.
All six of the Dutch carrier’s MD-11Fs will be retired, leaving Air France-KLM with two 777Fs, based in Paris (operated by Air France) and three 747-400ERFs, based in Amsterdam (operated by the remaining Martinair pilots). The company says it will also keep fifteen 747-400 combination aircraft in the KLM fleet, but given the age of these airplanes — all but a few are more than 20 years old — it’s unknown how long they will stay in service.
Air France-KLM said the fleet reduction would be complete by mid-2016, but some reports indicate the staff cuts will become effective by June of this year. Martinair has lost €8 million per freighter, per year, for the past three years, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the MD-11Fs were retired sooner than mid-2016.
Losses at Martinair were blamed on stiff competition from other cargo companies, particularly those in the Persian Gulf countries.
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