Operating an airline in France is not easy, costs high - Air France KLM CEO

PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Air France KLM is lobbying authorities in France as it pushes to try and make the market more competitive, the group’s top boss said on Tuesday, adding that tax bills and the cost of operating out of airports there was higher than elsewhere.

“Operating an airline in France is not easy,” Air France KLM Chief Executive Ben Smith told an investor presentation.

French carrier Air France was changing its airplane fleet and had reached agreements with pilots that were helping its turnaround, Smith said.

But the company also faced high expenses at airport facilities and charges including a new ecological tax, a solidarity tax and civil aviation bill that were adding to its costs, he added.

Smith also said that Air France would decide in the coming weeks on whether to opt for Boeing’s 787 airplane model or Airbus’s A350s to replace the latter’s A380 fleet to cover long-haul flights. (Reporting by Sarah White ; Editing by Matthias Blamont)