Air France-KLM has started difficult negotiations with its unions over job cuts.
The Franco-Dutch airline wants to become more competitive against low-cost rivals and in the face of fuel prices at record levels.
It is particularly concerned about losses on its short haul routes.
It has denied earlier reports that it wants to reduce the workforce by five thousand by 2015 through voluntary redundancies.
Air France-KLM, which employs 103,000 people, could slim down its payroll by speeding up natural attrition.
Every year, about 800 people leave the company, but it could increase that number with a voluntary redundancy plan open to all staff members
It is looking to shed two billion euros of both debt and operating costs over three years.
Europe’s largest airline says its labour contracts stand in the way of heading off growing competition from low-cost carriers led by Britain’s easyJet and a historic fuel bill which is set to rise by one billion euros in 2012.