Air France strike boosts easyJet’s takings

The Air France pilots' strike may have been "catastrophic for the French airliner but it was great news for easyJet, the budget carrier confirmed on Friday.

Air France strike boosts easyJet's takings
Easyjet did well out of the Air France, as did a lot of other airlines, no doubt. Photo: St33vo/Flickr

The news will not go down well with Air France chiefs or indeed the French government but easyJet on Friday lifted its full-year profits forecast as a record-long pilots' strike at Air France caused passengers to switch to the no-frills British carrier.

EasyJet said income grew by about £5.0 million ($8.1 million, €6.4 million) thanks to the strike by pilots at Air France, while the British airline raised its 2014 earnings forecast also following a strong end to its financial year.

The British airline said it now expected pre-tax profit for the 12 months to September 30th of between £575 million and £580 million compared with the group's previous guidance of £545-£570 million.

"We finished the year strongly," easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said in the company's trading update. "This has enabled easyJet to deliver record profits for the fourth year in a row."

The airline added that "the impact of the Air France pilots' strike in September is expected to increase easyJet's revenue by circa £5 million as Air France passengers switched to easyJet".

EasyJet had already said that 40 percent of its net profits would be in the form of dividends to shareholders. The group will publish its full-year results on November 18th.

Air France's main pilots' union this week ended the longest strike in the carrier's history to allow talks over the contentious issue of the airline's low-cost subsidiary Transavia.

Air France sees Transavia's development as vital in the struggle to retain market share in the cut-throat medium-haul sector, which is steadily being overrun by no-frills airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair.

The two-week stoppage has meanwhile cost Air France more than €200 million ($250 million).

SEE ALSO: 'Pilots' strike proves France cannot reform'

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French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.