Air France has announced large job cuts.

The news is not unexpected.

To qualify for billions in state aid Air France is having to become more efficient. For ecological reasons it must not compete with the TGV.

Air France wants to cut staff numbers by 7,580 before the end of 2022.

It will see a reduction of 6,560 staff out of 41,000, while regional subsidiary Hop! will lose 1,020 out of 2,420. reports that this staff reduction is similar to that of Lufthansa but below that of our British Airways, Easyjet or Virgin Atlantic.

The airline believes it will take four years before traffic levels return to roughly what they were pre-Covid-19.

Previously airlines were saying it would two or three years for things to return to normal.

But in an interview on LBC’s Breakfast Show a few days ago IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh claimed it would take his group four years to recover.

One could argue that part of the efficiency drive has already taken place with Air France having withdrawn its A380 fleet.  Its final flight was on June 26.

It’s a decision which, a few years ago, would have seemed unthinkable.

And the move towards cutting certain domestic routes means Hop! will lose all domestic bases with the exceptions of Paris CDG and Lyon.

Three routes will be abolished namely Paris Orly to Bordeaux, Nantes and Lyons.

The situation with short distance domestic flights serving Paris CDG (and used by connecting passengers) remains unclear.