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KLM pilots agree to extended wage freeze, clearing way for state support

FILE PHOTO: A KLM commercial passenger jet takes off in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Pilots at KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France AIRF.PA, on Tuesday agreed to government wage demands, clearing the way for the airline to receive badly needed state support.

“The path is now clear for (Finance Minister Wopke) Hoekstra to determine whether the demands have been met” to receive 3.4 billion euros (3.06 billion pounds) in government-backed support, KLM said in a statement.

The pilots’ trade union had previously agreed to wage cuts until March 2022, but the government on Friday demanded an immediate guarantee that wages would be frozen for an additional three years.

Their initial refusal threatened to derail the emergency aid needed to help KLM through the coronavirus crisis.

However, an agreement was ultimately reached on Tuesday between the union and KLM’s management.

“We will live up to the trust that the Dutch government is placing in us,” said KLM Chief Executive Pieter Elbers.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by David Goodman

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