Air France shares tumble following resignation of CEO and ongoing strike action

08 May, 2018, 01:04 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • Air France boss Jean Marc Janaillac announces he will resign on Friday                  REUTERS  Charles Platiau

The French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Mairie, appealed "to reason" to striking Air France workers.

In a statement on Friday, CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac said he would quit in mid-May after tens of thousands of French staff and pilots voted against a multi-year pay offer.

Air France management had offered workers a salary increase of 2 per cent in 2018 and a further 5 per cent over the following three years.

"Air France-KLM is now without a boss and will find it hugely hard to attract a high-level manager", analysts at French brokerage Aurel-BGC said.

Despite the French state owning 14.3% of the Air France-KLM parent group, the loss-making airline would not be bailed out, he said.

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Air France-KLM is one of Europe's biggest airlines, but has seen a series of strikes in recent weeks.

Air France said Friday that rising expenses for jet fuel plus a stronger euro will add to the burden caused by a string of walkouts by staff fighting for higher wages.

Air France's share price plunged almost 13% at the open on Monday and was trading 10.9% lower at 7.21 euros in the early afternoon in Paris amid questions about its future management and direction.

Air France said 15 per cent of its flights would be cancelled on Monday as pilots and cabin crew went on strike over the pay dispute for a 14th day since February. While nearly all long-haul flights are predicted to operate, one in five medium-haul services from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris won't, with short-haul trips from Orly also affected.

Air France-KLM shares fell as much as 14.3 per cent to an intraday low of 6.93 euros ($8.30) in early trading, around at their lowest level since April 2017.

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A wave of strikes at Air France has so far cost the company 300 million euros. As a result, group's chief executive (CEO) Jean-Marc Janaillac resigned, raising questions over the airline's capacity to cut costs and reform.

"If Air France does not become more competitive".

"Be responsible. The survival of Air France is in the balance", he added.

This is in sharp contrast to its performance past year, when the shares rose 160 percent as Janaillac initiated reforms to restructure and improve the finances of its French brand, said Roche Brune Asset Management's Laverne.

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