Bloomberg Businessweek

Turning Air France Into French Toast

After years of labor strife, the government says its flagship airline must fix its problems—or fail

Founded almost a century ago as a mail carrier to France’s far-flung colonies, Air France has long been an avatar of the country’s glamorous image. It has ferried diplomats and dealmakers to Paris and Hollywood starlets to the festivals in Cannes. In the 1960s it clad cabin crew in Dior. In the ’70s it introduced the Concorde, which linked Paris and New York in less than four hours.

Today the glamour is mostly gone, and Air France—suffering from toxic labor relations, bloated operating costs, and strategic blunders—is more representative of the country’s woes. Jean-Marc Janaillac, chief executive officer of Air France-KLM, the

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