The European Commission has mobilised €9.8 million from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to assist workers who were made redundant by French national flag carrier Air France in 2017.

The initiative will help unemployed workers find a new job after Air France was hit hard by “serious economic disruption” to caused by a decline in the airline’s international market share and slower growth in air traffic across the EU over the last several years.

Responding to the structural changes of air transport market the European Commissioner for employment, social affairs, skills and mobility of workers, Marianne Thyssen reiterated the point that air transport, along with other key sectors in Europe, is going through a transformation due to a global trend that is seeing older business practices jettisoned for new models and new markets – including in the airline industry.

Following the dismissal of 1,858 Air France workers, particularly those servicing the country’s Île-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions. French President Emmanuel Macron asked the European Commission to initiate EGF support.

Air transport for international travellers in the EU market share did not follow the global air traffic trend of a 5.3% increase per year between 2008-2015. The slow growth of 3.4% on the European travel markets shook the bloc’s airlines, as well as their airport hubs, in terms of passenger flow, in comparison to their counterparts in Africa and Asia.

The total cost of aid package is estimated at €16.5 million  It must first be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council before it can be approved.

Since its creation in 2007, the EGF fund has received 158 intervention requests. Approximately €630 million has been requested to help some 150,000 workers and 3,369 unemployed young people who have no education or training to competitive on the European job market.