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Economy

Air France proposes to add to long-haul fleet in new jobs plan, unions

media Air France Chief Executive Frédéric Gagey in Paris, 20 December 2015 Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Air France plans to add two airplanes a year to its long-haul fleet in new proposals for the company's future presented to unions on Friday. The troubled French flag-carrier promises no compulsory job losses if there are rises in productivity, according to union sources.

In the latest stage in long and stormy negotiations, which saw a manager's shirt ripped from his back in a protest last year, Air France management proposes to increase its long-haul fleet from 104 to 109 Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s between 2017 and 2020, union activists told the Reuters news agency.

The low-cost Transavia France should grow from 26 today to 40 in 2020.

The latest plan replaces a controversial "Plan B" that led to an explosion of anger among employees fearing thousands of job losses.

The latest version still plans to shed about 1,000 jobs in 2016, mainly among ground staff, but promises that all redundancies will be voluntary.

Unions point out that it does propose transfers in jobs or location, which they fear could be used to squeeze employees out.

Plan B's proposals to scrap nine plans, reduce flights and scrap 2,000 more posts have been dropped.

It also suggests that more staff could be taken on for flight crews and pilots, unions told the AFP wire service.

In return flight crews would have to agree to a 10-per-cent increase in hours in flight from 2016-2020, the unions say.

The company is also reported to have dropped its insistence on a deadline set by management, the sources say.

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