Air France-KLM plans to hire hundreds of pilots for its French subsidiary this year and use incentive payments in some cases to ensure it has enough pilots this summer as the industry continues to battle staffing shortages that roiled travel last year.

The group wants to hire 500 to 600 pilots for Air France and budget carrier Transavia this year, up from 450 in 2022, an Air France spokesman said by email. The airline is also implementing a system that will allow pilots of Boeing 777 and Airbus A320 planes to get bonuses if they waive up to seven days of vacation time on a voluntary basis, he added, declining to elaborate on amounts offered.

European carriers have struggled to expand services in the travel-demand boom that followed the Covid-19 pandemic. Air France was able to avoid strikes in recent months, even as hubs in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt were forced to scrap flights amid a labor shortage and as workers walked out to protest spiraling inflation. 

Airports like Amsterdam’s Schiphol are still grappling with labor shortages and Deutsche Lufthansa AG is set to scrap 34,000 flights this summer due to persistent staffing constraints.

Air France will soon be announcing its 2023 flight schedule, the spokesman said. Air France-KLM said last month it expects second-half capacity to be above 95% of 2019 levels.