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Air France Demonstrators Storm Board Room

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If you thought you were having a tough Monday, how about being chased out of a board meeting by demonstrators, having your shirt ripped half way off and having to scale an 8 foot fence to get away? No, I’m not talking about Brian Bolan’s daily commute home, I’m talking about the scene that plaid out at Air France’s (AFYLL) headquarters earlier today.

Management outlined a plan to cut 2,900 jobs in a meeting with union representatives. The company sought to encourage voluntary departures, but will fire workers if necessary. After failed talks last week with pilots, Air France executives warned that 300 cockpit crew, 900 flight attendants and 1,700 ground staff could be axed. The cuts would be the first firings for Air France since the 1990s.

Protesters stormed the meeting, causing executives to flee with their clothes tattered and torn. Proof once again, that people in France love to storm things. The Bastille. The castle in Beauty and the Beast. Now we can add Air France’s board room to the list. I can’t help but picture a talking candlestick holder looking out the window and yelling “Sacre Bleu! Invaders!”

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These guys were ruthless and the poor sap heading HR got the brunt of it. The HR chief and the head of long-haul flights both scaled an 8 foot fence while shielded by security guards to get out of harm’s way. In this case, it looks like both sides of the fence were bad ideas. Where’s that guys hand? Looks like the French version of the Vulcan neck pinch to me. Dr. Spock himself would be blushing after that one.

Last week, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) outlined plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs among its 10,000 management and salaried employees. No demonstration. No freaking out. No storming the castle. Which should teach a valuable lesson that Air France execs can use next time. Never specify the number of jobs. Be as vague as possible and target middle management. Leave the ground staff alone. Those guys get big muscles by throwing around your knock off Luis Vuitton suitcases every flight and pushing around those heavy luggage carts. Middle management just pushes around paper, much easier escape route.

The airlines have been benefiting from cheaper oil prices and a more adventurous consumer. The industry is currently in the Top 9% of our Zacks Industry Rank. Alaska Air (ALK - Free Report) , ERA Group , Jet Blue (JBLU - Free Report) and Delta are all Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buy stocks. You’ll do fine with any name in this group but I think the best chart belongs to Jet Blue. Shares have been in an uptrend all year bouncing along the 50-day moving average several times. Recently, the Commodity Channel Index stretched to an oversold -100 level. A couple days of positive momentum has the CCI making a break toward the zero line. A crossover would be a buy signal on a stock approaching its 52-week high. 

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