Tourism

Dutch lawmakers want Air France-KLM CEO to lose $2.4M pay

The Dutch parliament is pressing the head of Air France-KLM to give up a two million euros in compensation, threatening to block any future aid to the group reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dutch parliament is pressing the head of Air France-KLM to give up a two million euros in compensation, threatening to block any future aid to the group reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

A majority of lawmakers have backed a motion by the SP radical left party demanding that the finance minister ask for the withdrawal of the payment to the Franco-Dutch company’s boss, Benjamin Smith.

During a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was against bonuses during this time of crisis.

But he warned that stopping any government support could spell the end of KLM and thousands of jobs.

Smith has a variable element of his compensation that depends on various conditions, and which reached two million euros in 2020 despite the group having lost 7.1 billion euros due to the collapse of the global travel industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The French and Dutch governments provided 10 billion euros in loans to prop up Air France-KLM last year.

On Monday, Air France-KLM raised just over a billion euros in a share issue that saw the French state double its stake in the company to 28.6 percent.

“In the meantime, the bosses continue to help themselves. It’s outrageous and the SP demands that the bonus be completely withdrawn,” Dutch lawmaker Mahir Alkaya said in a statement.

“This bonus is a middle finger to Dutch society and in particular to all those in the aviation industry who have to fear for their jobs,” he said, adding in a week that the Dutch government would not provide more aid to the group unless Smith gives up the payment.

A spokeswoman for the finance minister told AFP on Thursday that the lower chamber of parliament would be notified when the motion is carried out.

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