Carla Bruni angers Air France staff over New York freebie
Employees facing massive job cuts say singer shouldn't have got free flight to promote her new album
CARLA BRUNI is not flavour of the month with Air France employees after the supermodel-turned-singer took a free flight to New York to promote her latest album.
The 45-year-old Italian-born Bruni has kept a low profile since her husband, Nicolas Sarkozy, failed last year to win a second term as President of France.
Instead, she has concentrated on her music career and on 23 June jetted to New York to promote her fourth album, Little French Songs, which she describes as "folk music with a little pop".
Bruni flew to the Big Apple for free on Air France, which is partly state-owned. She is entitled to do so as a member of a former French president's family.
But according to France24, the freebie has infuriated airline workers at a time when they are facing mass redundancies amid plummeting profits. In May, Air France-KLM revealed it had lost €630 million in the January-March quarter, compared to a loss of €379 million a year previously.
Competition from low-cost carriers is blamed for most of the deficit. The airline has warned it needs to trim its 49,000-strong workforce by 5,000.
The news that Bruni didn't pay for her return flight to New York has provoked widespread anger, with union activists wondering if it isn't time Air France scrapped its policy of free travel for former presidents and their families.
Leon Cremieux of the SUD (Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques) union told France24 he was angry at the policy when "we are being led to believe that the situation [at Air France] is catastrophic".
He added that France is "no longer a monarchy" and such perks should be consigned to the past.
The fuss is unlikely to bother Bruni too much. Her album has gone down well in the US, with one reviewer praising it as "much stronger and more assured" than her previous records. There is even talk of a tour next year, although she might consider travelling on a different airline.