10 May, 2021

Steven Zaat to take over group CFO position at Air France-KLM

Last week Air France-KLM announced that Group CFO Frédéric Gagey will be succeeded by Steven Zaat, current Air France Chief Financial Officer, on 1st July, 2021.

The pan European airline said that Gagey who is 64 will retire and leave his current position as of July 1st, 2021. “I would like to express all my gratitude and thanks to Frédéric Gagey for his deep contribution to Air France-KLM, which he served with great talent and dedication during the last 25 years” said Anne-Marie Couderc, Chair of Air France-KLM Board of Directors. “Successively Managing Director and CFO of KLM (2005-2012), CFO of Air France (2012-2013), Chairman and CEO of Air France Group (2013-2016) and interim Air France-KLM Group CEO (2018), Frederic is undeniably one of the architects of the construction of our Group. He contributed to many of the Group’s major successes and achievements, and helped it navigate through periods of challenges and transformation.”

“I would like to warmly thank Frédéric, said Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, for his exceptional impact on Air France-KLM. He has played a key role in his latest position as Group CFO, and in the exceptionally difficult period we are still going through, he has been instrumental in ensuring the financial survival of our group, including through the negotiation and implementation of our financial support plans and the latest recapitalization operation. It is a privilege to work with Frédéric and to benefit from his experience.”

Steven Zaat, currently serving as CFO of Air France, will succeed Frédéric Gagey as Air France-KLM Group CFO, on July 1st, 2021. Frédéric Gagey and Steven Zaat will work together to conduct a seamless transition of responsibilities.

Steven Zaat has over 20 years of experience in the airline industry. He joined KLM in 2000 where he held various finance positions within the Engineering and Maintenance Division and subsequently as VP Finance Alliances and Head of Audit, where he was working closely with Mr. Gagey, then Managing Director and CFO of KLM. In 2014, Steven joined the Air France-KLM Group, as VP Finance & Control of the Engineering and Maintenance Division. In 2015, he became SVP Corporate Control of Air France-KLM. He was appointed CFO of Air France in July 2019. Steven Zaat holds a degree in economics and business studies from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University and a Certified Controller post-graduate diploma from the Amsterdam Vrije University Controllers Institute.

“Steven is a strong leader whose broad experience and extensive finance knowledge of the Group and its airlines qualify him to lead our finance areas,” said Benjamin Smith, “having had a variety of important roles at KLM, Air France and Air France-KLM, Steven is perfectly prepared and I have full confidence that he will be an excellent CFO to ensure that Air France-KLM overcomes this crisis, is prepared for the recovery and regains its leadership in the industry.”

Latest results 

Over the first three months of the year, the Group continued to be negatively impacted by travel restrictions as the whole industry:

  • Revenue at 2.2 billion euros, down 57% compared to last year
  • EBITDA loss at -0.6 billion euros, mitigated due to strict cost control and national partial activity schemes
  • Operating result at -1.2 billion euros, down 0.4 billion euros compared to last year
  • Net income at -1.5 billion euros, after taking interest charges into account
  • Net debt at 12.5 billion euros, up 1.5 billion compared to end of 2020
  • At 31 March 2021, the Group has 8.5 billion euros of liquidity and credit lines at disposal
  • Early April 2021, first set of balance sheet strengthening measures successfully executed resulting in an increase of €4bn equity and improved cash position by €1bn


Due to the stricter lockdown in France until, at least beginning of May, continuation of the lockdown in the Netherlands and travel restrictions worldwide still in place, the Group anticipates the beginning of the second quarter to be similar to the first quarter whereby the customer booking behaviour is still short-term oriented.

The key to reduce travel restrictions and reopen borders is a rapid roll-out of wide-scale vaccination. In the US, domestic demand is recovering rapidly due to the speed of the vaccination process.

In this context, the Group expects capacity in Available Seat kilometers circa index 50% for Air France-KLM in the Second quarter 2021 compared to 2019 for the Network passenger activity.
During the second half of the second quarter the Group will progressively ramp up capacity given the vaccination deployment in Europe.

For the Third quarter the Group foresees a capacity in Available Seat kilometers index in the range of 55% to 65% compared to 2019 for the Network passenger activity thanks to estimated higher demand.

The Air France-KLM Group continues to work to strengthen its balance sheet. Additional measures of equity and quasi-equity instruments are currently under consideration. Extraordinary resolutions will be presented at the next Annual General Meeting, aiming to give the Board of Directors great flexibility to restore equity.

Air France-KLM Group

First Quarter
Passengers (thousands)4,819-73.4%
Passenger Unit revenue per ASK2 (€ cts)2.90-48.8%
Operating result (€m)-1,179-364
Net income – Group part (€m)-1,481+320
Adj. operating free cash flow (€m)-1,344-519
Net debt at end of period (€m)³12,5531,504

The Board of Directors of Air France-KLM, chaired by Ms. Anne-Marie Couderc, met on May 5, 2021 to approve the financial statements for the First quarter 2021. Group CEO Mr. Benjamin Smith said:

“A year into the COVID crisis, lockdown measures and travel restrictions in our home markets and around the world continue to strongly impact the Group’s activity. In this ever-challenging environment, the Group has nevertheless shown its resilience, maintaining a strict control of its capacity and costs” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France – KLM. “The success of the first set of capital-strengthening measures completed in April, allows us to look forward to the summer season with greater confidence, hoping that the progress of the vaccination roll-out worldwide and the implementation of travel passes will allow borders to reopen and traffic to recover. In the meantime, we have accelerated the implementation of our transformation plan to build a solid post-crisis model. This includes the execution of our voluntary departure plans, which are progressing as expected. In the coming months, we will continue our strict cost control approach while reinforcing our sustainability commitments, in line with our ambitious environmental roadmap."

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