Support for KLM boss Pieter Elbers within his own ranks is impressive. According to chief executive Ben Smith of parent company Air France-KLM, not every driver in the aviation industry is so praised, he said the day after the decision about a new term for the Dutchman.
The works council and the supervisory board clearly wanted to continue with Elbers. Staff also signed en masse an online rehearsal for his reappointment.
In addition to the four-year term, Elbers will also be part of a new top layer where Air France colleague Anne Regail and financial director of the parent company Frédéric Gagey will also receive seats. Smith himself will have a seat on the Supervisory Board of KLM. He called that step logical, with a view to transparency and cooperation.
In the first months after his appointment, Smith spent time and effort in Air France. His first task was to bring peace to the French division, after a wave of strikes that clearly pushed the results. The wage agreement with the pilots on Monday was, according to him, the final piece of the negotiations.
At Air France the strategy is now under scrutiny. Smith already announced that the flight schedules of the French are going to change. The cancellation of Joon must be completed this summer. Earlier it was already known that the price fighter ceases to exist and goes into Air France.
He says there is no question of a shift in jobs between Paris and Amsterdam. He also expressed the hope that Air France’s top woman Regail will be supported in France just as much as Elbers in the Netherlands in a while.