Air France and the SNPL pilot union have reached an agreement that extends a previous Boeing 787 training deal allowing 777 instructors to train pilots on the 787.
The deal brings to a close an impasse that had forced it to ground its newest 787 and reduce flight frequency from Paris to Guangzhou, China.
“This latest generation aircraft is one of the best tools for Air France’s growth strategy,” Air France said in a statement. “Ensuring it can be operated is a priority for the airline’s management. Since May 1 the airline has been forced to keep its sixth Boeing 787 grounded, following the refusal of pilot representatives to sign an extension of the specific agreement on Boeing 787 instructors.” Air France said the deal “ends a stalemate that was detrimental for passengers and employees.”
However, the carrier warned: “The negative effects of the absence of a deal and the grounding of the aircraft will still be felt for several weeks as the delay in training the relevant pilots cannot be made up immediately.”
Air France has been through turbulent times recently because of a broader conflict with unions and employees over pay which led to 15 one-day strikes in recent weeks and the resignation of former Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac.
The group has an interim CEO and two deputies in place, but the pay dispute is still unresolved.
The carrier said April 27 that during the month of May it would operate 3X-weekly to Guangzhou from its Paris Charles de Gaulle hub, instead of five, using a Boeing 777 on the route to replace the 787, canceling nine flights or 40% of its services, but because the 777 has a larger capacity, only reducing seat capacity by 17%.
Air France also said it had reached two other agreements with the SNPL on improving the system of managing flight security.