Living Up to Expectations

Air France-KLM boss has a simple message for travel agents: “We need you”…

Having taken the “helm” of Air FranceKLM recently, what will be different about the way you will run things as opposed to your predecessor?

I want to say that I am not looking to make a break or take an opposite approach. I wish to continue the work carried out for the recovery of the Air France-KLM group, based on the restoration of confidence at several levels: between staff, between teams and leaders, and with customers who have experienced a certain amount of inconvenience these past months. While I encountered some difficulties upon arriving at Air France-KLM, I also discovered a group with very strong brands and employees, in France and in the Netherlands, proud to wear the colours of their company.

What are Air France-KLM’s most important “USPs” today, and how do you propose to push them more assertively into the market?

What distinguishes the offer of the Air France-KLM group from its main competitors is strongly linked to culture, to the footprint of each of its brands. For Air France, we have in mind the French art of travel, the attention to detail, gastronomy, hospitality in the lounges or on board by personnel who ensure attentive service. KLM for its part conveys the idea of a trip in a spirit of efficiency, simplicity and innovation, with the signature of Dutch designers adding a warm touch to the products offered. I would add that the fleets of the two companies are gradually being equipped with seats of the highest standard of comfort.


Air France recently announced the creation of a platform centralising data for internal use as part of your “360 ° Vision” of the customer. How does this work?

We share a considerable amount of information with the 90 million customers that the Air France-KLM group transports each year. The data collected during their research on the Internet, their reservations, in their interactions on social media, with call centres, and in lounges, are transferred back across a centralised group-wide platform. This allows us to make the right offer to the right customer, at the right time, according to the principle of “better knowledge for better service”. This goes in the direction of the construction of a made-to-measure offer and closer relationship with the client… elements that are dear to Air France-KLM teams.

Looking forward – hopefully many years – to the day you will retire, what do you hope people will say about the way you ran the company?

When you arrive at the head of a group such as Air France-KLM, you get a sense of pride at the same time as sensing great responsibility. We are talking about national flag flyers here, and there are nearly 100,000 employees who expect to come out of the difficult times and look forward to a successful future. I’m focused on the managerial actions in the present and in the near future. I am not yet concerned about what people will say about my actions later!

What is your message to the top TOs and TAs?

“We need you”… This is my message. I will repeat myself but what binds us mainly to our distributors is trust. We must live up to their expectations. They are face to face with the customers, they are also required to serve them to the best. Travel agents drive our market, they advise customers and guide their choices. If they do not have the Air France, KLM, HOP! Air France and Transavia brands in mind at the time the purchase is decided, our efforts are in vain.


Jean-Marc Janaillac

Born April 26, 1953, Jean-Marc Janaillac is a graduate of HEC and former student of the National School of Administration. After having been a Director of Air France from 1989 to 1994, he was president of the Executive Board of RATP from 2010 to 2012 and general manager of development of the RATP from 2004 to 2010. He also served in general management positions in the Maeva tourism Group (2000-2002) and the airline AOM (1997-2000). President and CEO of Transdev from 2012 to 2016, he was appointed President and CEO of Air France-KLM on July 4, 2016.