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Air France-KLM: new leadership in September and a joint venture between Europe and China

The new airline CEO, who should be appointed before September, should receive a much higher salary than the resigning chief executive, Jean-Marc Janaillac. At the same time, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced the merger of their existing joint venture agreements.

The recruitment process for new leadership "should be finalised in the coming weeks" with "effective implementation in September", the group's management said in a letter sent to staff on Friday, July 13.

Also read: Follow-up to the Air France-KLM series

According to the letter, Anne-Marie Couderc deplored "that the process, which was very well advanced in mid-June 2018, [had] been slowed since by regrettable and negative external disturbances."

"Some of these disturbances are linked to [...] the media turmoil fuelled by the many rumours surrounding potential or supposed candidates," this letter states.

For example, she mentioned the name of RATP's current CEO Catherine Guillouard, who was put forward "even though the person concerned has never been a candidate and is therefore not included in the current selection process."

Anne-Marie Couderc stated that, at the end of June, the Board of Directors had asked the Nominating and Governance Committee "to broaden the list of candidates examined, adding international profiles from the aviation world," according to this note.

In addition, the executives of the French company are ready to break their piggy bank to attract a manager. According to information from the JDD, the airline intends to significantly increase the remuneration of the future CEO.

The salary should increase from 700,000 euros per year, including bonuses, to more than 2.5 million euros per year. 

A lire aussi : AccorHotels covets Air France-KLM

At the same time, the airlines Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines now form a joint venture, after merging existing agreements.

The aim is to "strengthen the already strong links between the partners and offer ever more fluid travel for customers," explains Air France-KLM.

"I am proud of this unique joint venture because it serves to further intensify Air France-KLM's interests in China," said Pieter Elbers, President of KLM's Management Board.

Since 2006, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and China Southern Airlines have formed a joint venture on the Amsterdam-Beijing route. In 2015, Xiamen Airlines joined them on the Amsterdam-Xiamen route. As for Air France, the company joined forces with China Southern Airlines to form a joint venture on the Paris-Guangzhou route in 2010.

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