KLM pilots agree to pay cuts to secure bailout for airline

Pilots with Dutch national airline KLM say they have agreed to accept pay cuts for as long as the carrier needs a multibillion euro government coronavirus bailout

The decision clears the way for the government to agree to free up the next instalment of a 3.4 billion-euro ($3.96 billion) lifeline to help KLM survive the sharp downturn in air travel amid the pandemic. The package is made up of a 1 billion-euro loan and 2.4 billion euros in guarantees for bank loans.

On Saturday, Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was halting the state aid because not all of KLM’s 30,000 staff had committed to accept pay cuts for the duration of the aid package, expected to be five years.

KLM said in a statement Tuesday that the pilot’s labor union had joined seven other unions in signing a so-called “commitment clause” on pay cuts.

The airline said it is now up to the minister to assess whether KLM has met all the conditions for the bailout package.

Hoekstra was expected to comment later Tuesday.