Jetty
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AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:06 am

Dutch en French unions had interviews with some top-level managers of both AF and KL. Some interesting quotes that show the problems within AFKL.

AF managers about KL

"The unspoken motivation is their desire to maintain some independence and at any time within a reasonable period of one to one and a half years have a split between Air France and KLM, with KLM being able to set up a computer system that is separate from that of Air France."

"They want to be able to get rid of Air France at any time. What is reversible is accepted, no matter what the best system is. That's how they maintain the possibility of independence."

"When we talk about the Dutch, which we designate as the Batavians, we talk about how ruthlessly they do business, they just look for profit, they do not work like us."

"We know from the press that there may be tensions at the management level. It's claimed that KLM wants to divorce Air France because they are not happy with the fact that we do not earn enough money; the Batavians care a lot about money."

"An underlying idea [of the Dutch] is that we are a little like Arabs: not to be completely trusted, work bad, are filthy. And that was really confirmed by all [French] colleagues. Talk loudly, say anything that comes to mind and take two hours to eat while the Dutch are finished in 20 minutes."

"Dutch people say: 'they are lazy at Air France, always on strike, complaining, expensive'."

"I do not mind my Dutch colleagues. If I were in their shoes, I would do the same. French strikers, and their shitty country without any progress."

"The problem we have at Air France is that our sales are very low, we have a team of managers who only have their position because they have the right age, they work there for years and do not make any decisions. At KLM, the management is much younger, they have much faster careers and are responsive."


KL management about AF

"At KLM, people want to do work which satisfies, they want to participate. At Air France, at least in my team, if they have a job and get their salary, they are fine with it."

"At Air France, colleagues expect that the company will take care of them. It's intriguing because it reflects the French society."

"You must be able to imagine how things are going on in France. The social relations, the politics in the country. The country is bankrupt. Many people still retire at their sixties. The 35-hour working week."

"France is actually like Greece but bigger. The French economy is a time bomb. And Air France is a little time bomb."


Full text: http://www.ad.nl/redactie/KLM/Rapport%2 ... 0AFKLM.pdf (Dutch)
 
xdlx
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:36 am

I wonder what DL would do with such dilema.... I rather take KLM and leave CDG and the whole AF deal behind, but I think AF and DL have more synergies.
 
obelau24
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:48 am

Ugh KLM and Air France are like night and day. It's such a pleasure to fly with KLM and with Air France it's a roll of the dice - more bad experiences than good. Not to mention AMS is a breeze compared to CDG and its plethora of terminals, rude ground staff and ATROCIOUS lounges. If I never fly AF again it will be too soon, which is a shame because I love France.
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:53 am

Interesting quotes. It might be easier to have one airline instead of two.
 
FGITD
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:54 am

xdlx wrote:
I wonder what DL would do with such dilema.... I rather take KLM and leave CDG and the whole AF deal behind, but I think AF and DL have more synergies.


Beyond being closer together with Delta, AF is simply much bigger than KLM. It would be a massive shift to place that much reliance on KLM and AMS for delta.

I think KLM is a great airline, and seems to be in touch with the reality of the business, but I also think they punch above their weight a bit. Perhaps because they've gone through a low point, much like AF is in, and managed to come out of it so they seem to know what it takes.
 
Jetty
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:35 am

FGITD wrote:
Beyond being closer together with Delta, AF is simply much bigger than KLM. It would be a massive shift to place that much reliance on KLM and AMS for delta.

If you take out ORY (which has little relevance for DL) AF isn't that much bigger than KL anymore, the past 18 months alone KL grew 15% more than AF. This is also illustrated by the fact that AMS will likely see more passengers this year than CDG and become the largest airport of continental Europe.
Image
 
klakzky123
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:02 am

obelau24 wrote:
Ugh KLM and Air France are like night and day. It's such a pleasure to fly with KLM and with Air France it's a roll of the dice - more bad experiences than good. Not to mention AMS is a breeze compared to CDG and its plethora of terminals, rude ground staff and ATROCIOUS lounges. If I never fly AF again it will be too soon, which is a shame because I love France.


Might just be personal experience, but I've had the opposite experience. AMS is a great airport but the last two times I've transited, they've had major meltdowns with the automated border control and just don't have enough manned immigration counters to make up for that kind of disruption. When things are working, immigration is quite good but I've just had some bad experiences lately. Contrast that with CDG which has dedicated Sky Priority lines which makes the experience (at least for me) pretty quick.

Also, that DL faux-border patrol gate at D1 just creates problems. Tourists are completely thrown off by it and it just slows to a crawl. I'm not sure what kind of security they're getting out of that but it just seems to create a generally angry group of travelers who go through all of the annoyances of a border patrol crossing without actually getting pre-clearance. I've almost missed a flight because that thing was so backed up.

And as for the lounges, I personally like the AF lounges (excluding the Schengen lounge which isn't all that special) but the 2E lounge is easily the best Skyteam lounge around. The KLM lounges are fine but the food spread is pretty abysmal.

I do agree that the KLM flying experience is generally better than AF and where I live AF flies a decrepit A340 in comparison to KL's A330 (soon to be 787). Once KL switches its flight here to a 787 later this year, I'll probably start giving them a go.
 
anstar
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:17 am

Jetty wrote:
FGITD wrote:
Beyond being closer together with Delta, AF is simply much bigger than KLM. It would be a massive shift to place that much reliance on KLM and AMS for delta.

If you take out ORY (which has little relevance for DL) AF isn't that much bigger than KL anymore, the past 18 months alone KL grew 15% more than AF. This is also illustrated by the fact that AMS will likely see more passengers this year than CDG and become the largest airport of continental Europe.
Image


These AMS figures will also include easyjets AMS base that opened in 2015 and has now grown to 9 aircraft. Not to forget Ryanair also starting their DUB/AGP flights in this time.
 
rj777
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:23 am

Is it even POSSIBLE for Air France and KLM to split?
 
Jetty
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:58 am

rj777 wrote:
Is it even POSSIBLE for Air France and KLM to split?

AF and KL are still separate entities and the AFKL holding has only a few assets and staff (besides AFKL maintenance which is more integrated). Legally and financially it would be an easy thing to do. Practically it would be more difficult, but one of the complaints of multiple AF managers is that KL keeps a possible separation in mind in all their decisions. If that is true it might be easier than one would expect after all these years together.

The biggest hurdle is that the AFKL holding has the majority of KL shares, and would have to approve a separation. There is a theoretical possibility that KL can divorce AF without the approval of the holding, but such a scenario is very unlikely.
 
Aither
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:30 am

AMS is a better hub because it's smaller, not because it' more efficient (like MUC versus FRA). From my experience, the KLM crew is rude and the food is clearly well below average. I think all of this is based on a lot of preconceived idea. We have to be fair, connecting at CDG with AF is no longer bad. AF has less strikes than Lufthansa and when they have they always almost manage to secure all the long haul flights and connections. There is never big terminal crisis like in LHR. They don't change boarding gates every 10 minutes like in FRA. No computer glitches grounding all the flights like in the US or even with KL. You don't take the bus to connect on a small & slow and uncomfortable regional jet for your connection like in AMS. Quite often the schedules for the connections are good : not too short like FRA, not as long as in AMS or LHR. Air France is going to launch a long haul low cost and yet no strike etc. etc.
Not too bad for supposedly lazy incompetent managers...
Never trust the obvious
 
mozart
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:01 am

Funny to see how the different perceptions actually confirm each other. The Dutch think of the French of just hanging in there but not doing any real work, and the French indeed confirm that unlike themselves the Dutch only care about the company to make money!
 
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Dutchy
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:04 am

Read the article as well. Was expected, but is quite bad for the company, there seems to be a fair culture within the company. It seems to be a culture thing, not many French - Dutch companies work, this isn't exclusive to Air France - KLM.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
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PM
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:19 am

I recently flew JNB-CDG-MAN and back on AF. Changing planes at CDG (which I was dreading) ended up being very easy. But the AF lounge was a shambles. It was completely overwhelmed. For hours there was NO food. They'd bring out, say, a plate of cold meat (that's all) and it was scoffed in 90 seconds. Then they'd bring out a basket of breads. Gone in a minute. Later a tray of yoghurt would appear. It was hopeless. That said, I've never found KLM anything other than workaday. In truth, I avoid both unless I have no choice.
 
Jerry123
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:35 am

Flown KLM a couple of times and found them pretty good but if it was between them and Delta I'd choose Delta.
The last time i flew back from the US it was via CDG on a Delta flight from SEA but an Air France flight number. I found transiting CDG a bit of a pain because of the internal security point that I had to go through. At AMS I've never had that inconvenience. I'm travelling back from the US at the end of August and this time I'll be flying on an an Air France A340 from MSP. I'm looking forward to see what Air France are like and i shouldn't have security to through because i arrive in 2E and depart from there as well. To be honest though if KLM had 13.00 or 13.30 arrival at Cardiff I'd probably wouldn't be using CDG on the way back.
 
MaverickM11
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:06 am

rj777 wrote:
Is it even POSSIBLE for Air France and KLM to split?

What is even merged? They haven't even merged cocktail napkins

PM wrote:
I recently flew JNB-CDG-MAN and back on AF. Changing planes at CDG (which I was dreading) ended up being very easy. But the AF lounge was a shambles. It was completely overwhelmed. For hours there was NO food. They'd bring out, say, a plate of cold meat (that's all) and it was scoffed in 90 seconds. Then they'd bring out a basket of breads. Gone in a minute. Later a tray of yoghurt would appear. It was hopeless. That said, I've never found KLM anything other than workaday. In truth, I avoid both unless I have no choice.

KL is efficient to a fault, and while the lounge is nice physically, it is often standing room only with minimal food options as well. Even AA/DL/UA have better food options at many of their--also overcrowded--lounges.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Amsterdam
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:01 am

"An underlying idea [of the Dutch] is that we are a little like Arabs: not to be completely trusted, work bad, are filthy."

What? Arabs? What's that got to do with anything? That must be the quoted person's own association with that negative description.
 
ME720
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:27 am

Jetty wrote:
Dutch en French unions had interviews with some top-level managers of both AF and KL. Some interesting quotes that show the problems within AFKL.

AF managers about KL

"The unspoken motivation is their desire to maintain some independence and at any time within a reasonable period of one to one and a half years have a split between Air France and KLM, with KLM being able to set up a computer system that is separate from that of Air France."

"They want to be able to get rid of Air France at any time. What is reversible is accepted, no matter what the best system is. That's how they maintain the possibility of independence."

"When we talk about the Dutch, which we designate as the Batavians, we talk about how ruthlessly they do business, they just look for profit, they do not work like us."

"We know from the press that there may be tensions at the management level. It's claimed that KLM wants to divorce Air France because they are not happy with the fact that we do not earn enough money; the Batavians care a lot about money."

"An underlying idea [of the Dutch] is that we are a little like Arabs: not to be completely trusted, work bad, are filthy. And that was really confirmed by all [French] colleagues. Talk loudly, say anything that comes to mind and take two hours to eat while the Dutch are finished in 20 minutes."

"Dutch people say: 'they are lazy at Air France, always on strike, complaining, expensive'."

"I do not mind my Dutch colleagues. If I were in their shoes, I would do the same. French strikers, and their shitty country without any progress."

"The problem we have at Air France is that our sales are very low, we have a team of managers who only have their position because they have the right age, they work there for years and do not make any decisions. At KLM, the management is much younger, they have much faster careers and are responsive."


KL management about AF

"At KLM, people want to do work which satisfies, they want to participate. At Air France, at least in my team, if they have a job and get their salary, they are fine with it."

"At Air France, colleagues expect that the company will take care of them. It's intriguing because it reflects the French society."

"You must be able to imagine how things are going on in France. The social relations, the politics in the country. The country is bankrupt. Many people still retire at their sixties. The 35-hour working week."

"France is actually like Greece but bigger. The French economy is a time bomb. And Air France is a little time bomb."


Full text: http://www.ad.nl/redactie/KLM/Rapport%2 ... 0AFKLM.pdf (Dutch)



I read a lot of racist remarks and statements here!
It is actually mind blowing that one can say: not to be trusted, lazy, filthy??ike Arabs?
This is unacceptable!
 
Jetty
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:45 am

There are a lot more comments that would be considered racist by some. Among others, an AF manager is afraid people of AF becomes like the Moroccans of The Netherlands. Apparently the PC-brigade hasn't infiltrated AF yet. They are in dire need of a diversity course. :mad:
 
VSMUT
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:57 am

klakzky123 wrote:
obelau24 wrote:
Ugh KLM and Air France are like night and day. It's such a pleasure to fly with KLM and with Air France it's a roll of the dice - more bad experiences than good. Not to mention AMS is a breeze compared to CDG and its plethora of terminals, rude ground staff and ATROCIOUS lounges. If I never fly AF again it will be too soon, which is a shame because I love France.


Might just be personal experience, but I've had the opposite experience.


Similar thing here. AMS is a crowded mess, my bags rarely make the connecting flight and the flights are often delayed. The security control always has massive queues. For some reason KLM passengers always bring significantly more cabin luggage with them (too much actually, meaning delays when it inevitably has to be put in the cargo hold), and the cabin-crew just feels so "cold".

CDG runs extremely smoothly, has no queues, my bags always make even the shortest of connections and flights depart on time. Once I even arrived at the terminal to find that my flight departing in 2 hours was cancelled. 5 minutes later I was seated onboard another flight thanks to the swift efforts of the Air France employees to rebook me. Transport between the main terminal and 2G is a bit of a downside, but it actually works pretty well.
 
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seahawk
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:57 am

If you merge you need to really merge. One management, one organisation and in the end one brand. Everything should be AF today and it should be run from Paris.
 
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ro1960
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:58 am

Interesting how this thread is about AF and KL management and turns into passengers experience reports.

So I'll give it a go and draw my totally objective conclusions, too:

    I flew BA once in the last 3 years. Delays on my two flights, LHR T5 that looks like a suburban shopping center, aircraft interiors dating from the 90s : I think it's a terrible airline.
    I flew KL long haul once 10 years ago: no delays, great caring crew, comfortable 747 in business, great meals, all fine. I think it's a great airline.
    I fly VY regularly to Spain. Cheap fares, OK interiors for the price, OK crew, but terrible at handling crisis (delays, cancellations). I think it's a Ok airline for what I pay.
    I fly AF regularly domestic. Comfortable interiors, nice crew, great at handling crisis. I think it's a great airline.
You may like my airport photos:
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TeamintheSky
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:25 am

Working with colleagues across the EU, these differences are not surprising. As another poster has said, the Dutch and French seem to take very different approaches even on projects that I work on with them.

Do we get any sense that there is this culture clash and "bad blood" between managers at IAG's or LH's airlines? Most of my flying is on BA or IB, and I don't get the sense there is much tension between the airlines. I spent a number of years flying KLM / AF, and the tension was definitely there. Also, I appreciate some responses about LHR, but I think LHR T5 and MAD T4 are a dream compared to both AMS and CDG.

Kind regards,

Team
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Jomar777
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:42 am

I rather like and fly a lot with both KL and AF but, contrary to some here, my experience with AF is way much better regardless the fact that I do speak French.
Never had issues with the cabin crew on AF (they have always been great) but with KL is a hit and miss in getting a someone that has just had his/her horseshoes changed and is eager to use it for any reason (and, trust me... I am not a problematic flier since I am not that tall and not fussy with food, and seats, neighbours).
Also, the seat pitch on AF is better than KL (or maybe just my impression).
Airport experience wise, coming from the UK, CDG may be bigger but you are less likely to have a long walk/transit transfer to your gate whereas, with KL, it always seems you landed either in Belgium or Germany (never less than about 30 minutes walk between gates).
Although technically a merger, AF is the bigger one here and KL has been growing on the back of it one way or another so, although possible, a separation is definitely not on the cards for the foreseeable future.
Having said that, I would never shy away from flying either of them and would say that they are better than a lot of airlines around (certainly better than the US3 unfortunatelly...)
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:48 am

ME720 wrote:
I read a lot of racist remarks and statements here!
It is actually mind blowing that one can say: not to be trusted, lazy, filthy??ike Arabs?
This is unacceptable!


My thoughts exactly - and all from the French side, I notice...

I also agree that it seems like the Dutch are saying "well, they're a bit less focused, but that's the French way" and the French - surprisingly - are saying "the [racist term] aren't happy with us being as lazy as [racist term], which I understand because we are". :eyepopping:

So in fact, the quotes - while quite remarkable - don't seem to indicate much of a rift. Both sides seem to accept and agree on their differences. One side is just more colourful in expressing it.
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:29 pm

First of all let's not forget the reason why KLM has been taken over by AF that is beacause the "superior" Dutch management drove the company into the ground.
Secondly, AMS is a large hub but does not have the large premium traffic that London or Paris or Frankfurt may have. AF has helped a lot opening the airline to new premium traffic.
 
commavia
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:40 pm

Wow, pretty stunning if these quotes are accurate and reflective of broader sentiment among the two work groups. Although, does it really matter? At this point, it seems like the gravitational pull keeping these two together, whatever the misgivings of each carrier's respective staffs, is too strong to pull apart, anyway.

VCEflyboy wrote:
First of all let's not forget the reason why KLM has been taken over by AF that is beacause the "superior" Dutch management drove the company into the ground.


That's not my recollection. As I recall, there was a bit of an ongoing courtship among multiple larger European carriers for KLM - including BA - and Air France "won."
 
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:53 pm

commavia wrote:
Wow, pretty stunning if these quotes are accurate and reflective of broader sentiment among the two work groups. Although, does it really matter? At this point, it seems like the gravitational pull keeping these two together, whatever the misgivings of each carrier's respective staffs, is too strong to pull apart, anyway.

VCEflyboy wrote:
First of all let's not forget the reason why KLM has been taken over by AF that is beacause the "superior" Dutch management drove the company into the ground.


That's not my recollection. As I recall, there was a bit of an ongoing courtship among multiple larger European carriers for KLM - including BA - and Air France "won."


Sure it matters, because this internal fight is consuming energy that should be used to fight the competition. And two management teams and two headquarters are just a waste of money.
 
winginit
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:05 pm

seahawk wrote:
If you merge you need to really merge. One management, one organisation and in the end one brand.


Agreed. UA/CO is in many ways an example of how things can go wrong if you don't go all in.

seahawk wrote:
Everything should be AF today and it should be run from Paris.


Woah. Disagree. Just curious, but in what ways do you think that would be better?
 
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VCEflyboy
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:12 pm

KLM has always been and still is a well run airline. But their grown model was not sustainable. That became apparent in the 2000s when other airlines like sabena and Swissair went belly up. They saw the writing on the wall and AF was not exactly their first venture. They teamed with NWA and AZ before that.
 
Jetty
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:31 pm

VCEflyboy wrote:
First of all let's not forget the reason why KLM has been taken over by AF that is beacause the "superior" Dutch management drove the company into the ground.

This is true, not because of their own operations but because the failed merger with AZ ruined KL financially.

commavia wrote:
That's not my recollection. As I recall, there was a bit of an ongoing courtship among multiple larger European carriers for KLM - including BA - and Air France "won."

:checkmark: And AF won not because they payed the best price or made the best combination, but because they gearanteed the most independence for KL after the takeover. So the root of the current problems partly originated from even before the takeover.
 
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:34 pm

Let me tell the essence:

These problems only exist because the French side doesn't want to work significantly harder for the same pay.
That's it.

Now you can say no no and say that I paint it too black and white, but that's the bottom line.

When AFKL would prosper and show profit margins like BA and LH then people would not be talking about this kind of stuff.
Because when things go good people like each other better automatically.

Now you can also say pointing to me: that's precisely the Dutch attitude we dont like.

But it's 2 minutes before 2400 o'clock.
This is serious.
Easyjet Ryan Air Norwegian on the one side
The ME airlines La Compagnie and Turkish on the other side
And one day Easyjet and Southwest might start transat flights
Competition is getting heavier every week for AFKL
And even SAS is opening a new base on an Irish AOC, things are about to drastically change
And every so many years a worldwide crises hits and the reforms have not taken place

So next crisis you can expect big losses again

The only thing the Dutch want is to not get drowned during the next big downturn because they know the dutch government wont save them
Thats why they are striving to makes profits again

Its all about survival in the long run
Its nothing personal
France is i think the number one holiday country for the dutch, so many like France and thats a fact
 
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VCEflyboy
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:56 pm

Amsterdam wrote:
Let me tell the essence:

These problems only exist because the French side doesn't want to work significantly harder for the same pay.


Because of the favorable taxation system in the Netherlands an AF employee that earns the same money and works the same hours costs AF double or triple what they would cost KLM.
 
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:00 pm

winginit wrote:
seahawk wrote:
If you merge you need to really merge. One management, one organisation and in the end one brand.


Agreed. UA/CO is in many ways an example of how things can go wrong if you don't go all in.

seahawk wrote:
Everything should be AF today and it should be run from Paris.


Woah. Disagree. Just curious, but in what ways do you think that would be better?


AF was the bigger partner and imho it a lot easier to serve the Dutch market with the AF brand, than the French market with the KLM brand. That would be the solution if you want to keep one organisation and remove the other.

But in the end they could keep 2 brands and work like IAG and LH group, but this still needs one integrated higher management organisation,which actually makes the decision for all airlines. The competition between the brands can be healthy and inspiring, but at AF/KLM it just seems to be consuming energy and lead to infighting. The huge problem will be to make this management impartial to national interests. Even it fully is, it takes years to convince the employees of this and only then you see an end to the infighting. The huge question is if this is still possible or if the infighting has gotten too big. The other huge question mark is meddling by French internal politics, that could see the decisions to not be impartial.

But they will have to solve it quickly, because a storm is coming. Not only the ME3, FR Easy and Norwegian or TK but also LH Group and IAG. A TATL hub in Dublin will be interesting for all major catchment areas of AF/KLM and with LH group now fully in control of Brussels Airlines, there suddenly is a serious competitor with a nice hub option right between AMS and Paris. Worse yet, should AB fall, LH Group most likely will have a big Eurowings operation at DUS, an airport which already catches lots of traffic from the eastern Netherlands.
 
commavia
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:12 pm

seahawk wrote:
Sure it matters, because this internal fight is consuming energy that should be used to fight the competition. And two management teams and two headquarters are just a waste of money.


Let me clarify. Obviously this level of discord and disconnection between the two carriers' cultures "matters" to the performance of the overall company, but I was specifically referring to whether it "matters" to the ultimate outcome of the relationship itself. Put differently - whether Air France and KLM employees get along, like each other, trust each other, have similar outlooks and work ethics, etc. or not, is it going to fundamentally alter the fact that the two companies are part of the same group? I don't think so.

winginit wrote:
seahawk wrote:
If you merge you need to really merge. One management, one organisation and in the end one brand.


Agreed. UA/CO is in many ways an example of how things can go wrong if you don't go all in.


Agree. The challenge is that in Europe, when dealing with national brands that are still inextricably linked to their home countries' national identities, that is virtually impossible to do in practice. Some European consolidation catalysts have managed this cultural challenge relatively better (IAG, Lufthansa Group) and some worse (SAirGroup, perhaps Air France-KLM). But this is fundamentally - and critically - different than mergers in the U.S. where one airline's brand and identity, and often its management structure and corporate infrastructure, is clearly the surviving one.
 
Amsterdam
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:16 pm

The big north american mergers are a false comparison to AF and KL for too obvious reasons.
 
MartijnNL
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:22 pm

Jetty wrote:
KL management about AF
"Many people still retire at their sixties. The 35-hour working week."

Nothing wrong with that.
 
winginit
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:24 pm

MartijnNL wrote:
Jetty wrote:
KL management about AF
"Many people still retire at their sixties. The 35-hour working week."

Nothing wrong with that.


As an American this one confused me a bit. Were KL management implying that it was a good thing or bad thing that the AF employees retire in their 60s? Versus their 50s? And aren't both the Dutch and French in a similar boat when it comes to a standard sub-40 hour work week?
 
MartijnNL
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:31 pm

A Frenchman once told me that people could retire after 40 years of working. He was looking forward to his retirement at the age of 56. Made possible because he started working when he was 16 years old. I think that has changed in France and I don't think that's a bad thing.

In the Netherlands most people retire in their sixties as far as I know. And a 36 hour work week is quite common. So both the Dutch and the French are in a similar boat when it comes to that.
 
Waterbomber
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:39 pm

obelau24 wrote:
Ugh KLM and Air France are like night and day. It's such a pleasure to fly with KLM and with Air France it's a roll of the dice - more bad experiences than good. Not to mention AMS is a breeze compared to CDG and its plethora of terminals, rude ground staff and ATROCIOUS lounges. If I never fly AF again it will be too soon, which is a shame because I love France.


KL is one of the worst legacy carriers in the world in terms of on-time performance, on-board service, and hard product and so are their lounges, AMS as a noisy and exagerated duty-free hub.
AF isn't much but recently they have improved their lounge's services (yes the one in 2E), CDG is rather quiet and doesn't force you into looking at duty-free.

So overall, from a customer perspective, AF is the better airline.
In terms of efficiency as a business, KL scores better, but it's at the expense of their staff and the passengers.

The Netherlands have changed a lot in the past 2 decades. The culture has become excessively frugal and materialistic in daily life. They try to apply that to business which looks good on paper but it fails most of the time because they come over as arrogant or greedy. A quick look at Eindhoven Airport's destroyed parking building and you can see how this culture of cheapness is failing.
I've also worked under Dutch managers. They look presentable but they're incompetent at best. Also, they tend to purchase goods and services from suppliers in their home country despite having cheaper local options. What is that about?

Between AF and KLM, I think that KLM is the risky side of the business. Amsterdam is no Paris and the Netherlands is no France.
KLM is excessively relying on connecting traffic to fill their flights and any new competition is a serious threat.
 
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ro1960
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:46 pm

MartijnNL wrote:
A Frenchman once told me that people could retire after 40 years of working. He was looking forward to his retirement at the age of 56. Made possible because he started working when he was 16 years old. I think that has changed in France and I don't think that's a bad thing.

In the Netherlands most people retire in their sixties as far as I know. And a 36 hour work week is quite common. So both the Dutch and the French are in a similar boat when it comes to that.



Legal retirement age in France is 62. But you only get your full pension if you have paid into the retirement plan system (public and private) for 167 trimesters for people born in 1960 for example. If don't have your 167 trimesters, you can retire but your pension will be reduced. Or work until you have your amount of trimesters.
The legal retirement age will gradually go up to 67 by 2023.

Depending on the type of work you do, you can legally retire earlier for occupational health risks reasons. I believe that's the case in aviation for FAs and pilots. I think it's 57 at AF but not sure.

In the Netherlands the legal retirement age is 65 and will go up to 67.

Annual working time is the shortest in France. So it is true that the cost of the French workforce is higher than its Dutch counterpart even if salaries are the same.
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OA940
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:54 pm

These Grey's Anatomy leaks are great! Thanks for sharing!
A350/CSeries = bae
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:24 pm

In a merger, one culture has to predominate for the merged entity to function. Here, I will say it hais the KLM culture has to win out here. That is not unlike what happened with the DL/NW merger...the DL culture won out as all of the non pilot unions were d certified to keep DL mostly nonunion. The merger would have failed had the NW culture dominated.
 
DutchyWilliam
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:47 pm

Waterbomber wrote:
KL is one of the worst legacy carriers in the world in terms of on-time performance, on-board service, and hard product and so are their lounges, AMS as a noisy and exagerated duty-free hub.
AF isn't much but recently they have improved their lounge's services (yes the one in 2E), CDG is rather quiet and doesn't force you into looking at duty-free.

So overall, from a customer perspective, AF is the better airline.
In terms of efficiency as a business, KL scores better, but it's at the expense of their staff and the passengers.

The Netherlands have changed a lot in the past 2 decades. The culture has become excessively frugal and materialistic in daily life. They try to apply that to business which looks good on paper but it fails most of the time because they come over as arrogant or greedy. A quick look at Eindhoven Airport's destroyed parking building and you can see how this culture of cheapness is failing.
I've also worked under Dutch managers. They look presentable but they're incompetent at best. Also, they tend to purchase goods and services from suppliers in their home country despite having cheaper local options. What is that about?

Between AF and KLM, I think that KLM is the risky side of the business. Amsterdam is no Paris and the Netherlands is no France.
KLM is excessively relying on connecting traffic to fill their flights and any new competition is a serious threat.


First of all, KLM is actually often named one of the world's best on-time performing airlines in the world, so don't know where you got that from.
Furthermore, the product they are offering, both on the ground as well as in the air, is improving by the day it seems.

Regarding the Dutch culture, I simply believe that every culture has its pros and cons. The collapse of the new parking building at Eindhoven airport is in no way aviation-related, and such an event is quite rare in The Netherlands, of which I'm sure a deep investigations will follow.

Of course there are risks to KLM's business model, to which the airline is certainly paying much attention, I believe.

In my opinion, the main issue that led to such an outcome of this report, is the lack of knowledge about one another, as many of AF-KLM's employees rarely interact with each other. The Dutch have seen their French colleagues going on strike quite often in the past few years, while the French were forced to accept KLM's growth while being largely restricted from growing themselves.

Getting to know and understand each other more might be a step in the right direction, though I myself wouldn't know how to get that done...

P.S.: This is my first post here after following the site for years, so my apologies for sounding like a beginner - cause I am. :)
 
jmscsc
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:38 pm

I fly Delta and its Skyteam partners exclusively. KLM is always my choice as they offer a better product than Air France. AMS is a pleasure to connect through and CDG is a headache. Air France needs to learn from KLM as I've been consistently disappointed with them flying both internationally and in Europe.
 
Curiousflyer
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:27 am

Well this saddens me because I think the preservation of both cultures, although it has a cost, is the best way to preserve the strong national dimension of both companies. There are economies of scale, in fact many: KL is good for cheaper destinations, since they have no premium economy nor first class, and generally a cheaper operation. They now buy planes together and have similar interiors, with just different shades of blues.

There are good decisions being made to respond to the competition, such as Boost and Transavia.

KL and AF merged because they needed each other and had a lot in common, unlike say AF and AZ.

I prefer AF because I usually fly to France but see how the Dutch can prefer KL. I want a bucket of champagne in my lounge, they want Heineken, good for them. I believe both airlines can keep growing at a good pace and cover multiple segments of the flying market.

They are faced with huge challenges, again I hope they will react to those, because personally I would dread flying Ryanair and even Norwegian is not luxurious enough for me.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:04 am

Give me KLM and AMS any day over AF and CDG...

That said, it most large companies there are always going to be politics and you will here candid, disparaging remarks about other departments, functions, or individuals.
 
spartanmjf
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:10 am

seahawk wrote:
If you merge you need to really merge. One management, one organisation and in the end one brand. Everything should be AF today and it should be run from Paris.


Then you will have the bankrupt French government bailing out a bankrupt airline within two years.....
"Nuts to the man in 21D!"
 
burnsie28
Posts: 5277
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:22 am

FGITD wrote:
xdlx wrote:
I wonder what DL would do with such dilema.... I rather take KLM and leave CDG and the whole AF deal behind, but I think AF and DL have more synergies.


Beyond being closer together with Delta, AF is simply much bigger than KLM. It would be a massive shift to place that much reliance on KLM and AMS for delta.

I think KLM is a great airline, and seems to be in touch with the reality of the business, but I also think they punch above their weight a bit. Perhaps because they've gone through a low point, much like AF is in, and managed to come out of it so they seem to know what it takes.


Actually DL is already quite a bit bigger in AMS than CDG.

For July
AMS: Total flights- 1,169 Total Seats- 316,394
CDG: Total flights- 806 Total Seats- 194,782

I don't think that if AF/KL split much would change for DL, especially since the JV's would likely remain as is.
 
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seahawk
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Re: AF/KL Managers Have No Confidence In Future Of Cooperation

Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:03 am

spartanmjf wrote:
seahawk wrote:
If you merge you need to really merge. One management, one organisation and in the end one brand. Everything should be AF today and it should be run from Paris.


Then you will have the bankrupt French government bailing out a bankrupt airline within two years.....


Well, it does not make much difference if you have a company with one half of it still betting on this. You only work on killing the other half which makes the employees very unhappy in the process.

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