In a press release, the National Union of Commercial Flight Crew (SNPNC-FO), representing air hostesses and stewards, believes that Volotea managed to become the first airline in France by practicing social dumping with the state complicity.
According to the union, the “rise in power” of the Spanish low cost on the domestic network in France is “unfortunately fueled by exemptions granted by the French State via the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC), which exempt Volotea from the application of the labor code, in particular the civil aviation code and the transport code“.
“These exemptions, which favor Volotea to the detriment of the safety standards and working conditions of our profession, cause serious concern within our union and the entire aviation community.“, underlines the union. And to add: “We urge the French authorities to stop handing out exemptions to the labor code, to reconsider their position and to ensure that all airlines operating in France fully respect the standards and regulations in force. These advantages enjoyed by Volotea create a situation of unfair competition for all companies that respect employee rights. The safety of crew and passengers must not be compromised for economic advantages“.
In summary, according to SNPNC-FO, the State would grant these exemptions to Volotea to obtain interconnectivity between regional capitals. This year, the Spanish low cost airline became the leading airline with 61 domestic routes (out of 246 in total), ahead of the Air France-KLM group which offers 58 domestic routes and easyJet which operates 42 domestic routes. For 2023, it is targeting 40,000 flights operated in French skies, or 6.5 million passengers transported, an increase of 33% over one year.
According to its founder Carlos Muñoz, France, which represents 60% of the activity of the Spanish low cost, has always been its “natural market“, very far ahead of Germany, Greece and even Spain, despite its country of origin. Its niche is domestic lines between small and medium-sized towns, little or not served by other airlines, traditional or low-cost, or even by train, and which do not pass through Paris.