Airlines Air France-KLM appoints new CEO


The Board of directors of Air France-KLM has announced it has appointed Benjamin Smith as new Air France-KLM Chief Executive Officer.

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Three months, after the former CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac has left the company, Air France-KLM has announced it has found a new manager. Benjamin Smith will start working for the European airline company at the latest on September 30, 2018.

Benjamin Smith, who is currently President Airlines and Chief Operating Officer of Air Canada, will become the first foreign CEO for Air France-KLM.

New Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith
New Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith © Air France-KLM

In a statement published on the airline’s website, the new CEO stated: “I am very enthusiastic about this new opportunity. Air France and KLM are both airlines well known for the professionalism and commitment of their teams. I am well aware of the competitive challenges the Air France-KLM Group is currently facing and I am convinced that the airlines’ teams have all the strengths to succeed in the global airline market. I am confident in the Group’s capacity to become one of the world’s leading players. I look forward to earning the trust and respect of all teams, working together to win in this highly competitive and fast-changing customer service industry”.

The new job will be challenging from day one: Worker’s representative had criticized the appointment of the first non-French CEO for the airline and unions are discussing another round of strike action.

Air France-KLM is facing heavy competition on the European market with its major rivals, the IAG Group and Lufthansa. Both competitors have launched own low cost brands (Lufthansa: Eurowings, IAG Group: Vueling & Level) covering the European and long-haul market. Air France-KLM has launched Joon, an airline that aims at young people and that serves destinations which face heavy competition from low cost carriers.

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