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Martinair pilots appear unlikely to retain their current salaries if they are moved to Transavia, the Dutch press has reported.

Since KLM’s decision in September to phase out six freighters operated by Martinair, some 400 jobs at the carrier are thought to be at risk.

Union leaders told the Dutch press that they “fought like lions” to get Martinair staff onto a KLM contract, but were unsuccessful. Martinair’s profitable maintenance operation is already being spun off from the airline, a move which, say unions, would allow it to be sold separately.

KLM is looking to cut back further. At the end of November, new CEO Pieter Elbers told staff to suggest ways of shaving €700m off costs over the next five years, to pay for fleet investments.

No decision on job cuts has yet been taken, according to a KLM spokesman, but talks with five unions will take place this month. The staff meeting was called “to underline a sense of urgency,” said the spokesman.

“We’re looking to make the company more efficient and asking all employees to think with us on what we can do.”

It won’t necessarily help Martinair however, a carrier whose future is still uncertain, but which observers say looks likely to disappear altogether from the market.

The airline has fought back against claims that is fleet cut will harm the air freight market, however. Shippers recently claimed that there would be insufficient air cargo capacity at Schiphol once the freighters were phased out.

At a recent briefing organised by the Schiphol Area Development Company, Martinair director Marcel de Nooijer saidMartinair only held a 15% share of the market at Schiphol, and said such accusations were “baseless”.

He also pointed out that KLMwas bringing in additional passenger capacity.

“The big bellies of three 777s is the same [capacity] as an MD-11 freighter aircraft. We are not taking a step backwards, just shifting focus. There will be a shift from main deck capacity to the belly area, but that’s no big deal.”

Schiphol has said it had no concerns. Phasing out the MD-11Fs in 2015 would affect just 1% of the airport’s cargo volumes.

“Given our current year to date, growth figures of 8.1%, which is way above the growth of the other main European hubs, we are confident that this volume loss will be compensated by KLM in the remaining freighters and belly capacity, as well as other airlines in existing or additional capacity,” said Enno Osinga, chief of cargo for Schiphol.

Martin Schröder, Martinair’s founder, recently told a Dutch newspaper that the planned downsizing of KLM’s cargo subsidiary has caused much “pain” and that there is still a role for Martinair, which should be an “indispensable” part of KLM.

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  • Ronald

    December 08, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Union leaders told the Dutch press that they “fought like lions” to get Martinair staff onto a KLM contract, but were unsuccessful.On the contrary, I understood that they, VNV (Vereniging Nederlandse verkeersvliegers) blocked the taking over of Martinair pilots by KLM.

  • Jopie

    December 08, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    You are correct Ronald. In 2009 after struggling with the EU for 9 years KLM was allowed to “take over” Martinair. Mind you over time KLM took out all the goodies and Martinair nowadays is not much more than a minimum administrative organistion required to keep the AOC in the air. After another 3 years of negotiations KLM, the VNV and the Martinair settled in a respectful way with the “Ringvaart” deal the way Martinair pilots would be integrated in the KLM pilots collective working agreement and seniority list. Nov 2012 the daily board of the VNV suddenly decided , without consulting the Martinair pilots, to cancel the Ringvaart deal for reasons hidden in smoke. A union canceling a collective working agreement…. that should frown your eyebrows not? Little “blue” man… Other Non Pilot unions however, are putting up a respectful fight for their members.

    With respect to the journalist Alex Lennane who wrote this article obviously based and quoted from other publications. The problems is that the thick smoke obscures the real sources of the fires and as such in this case information presented proved to be incomplete and casts doubts on the validity on the other information on this subject presented. But in her defense that is a general problem in journalism.