Air France bosses had their clothes torn off them by angry workers who had found out nearly 3,000 jobs are to be cut.
The airline's human resources manager Xavier Broseta and senior official Pierre Plissonnier were seen climbing over a fence to reach police, with their shirts ripped from their backs.
Several executives were injured during the ambush.
The senior Air France figures were meeting at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to discuss plans to cut 2,900 jobs. Hundreds of workers protested outside the building having rejected an offer to work longer hours. But when they caught wind of discussions over job cuts, things turned ugly.
Air France-KLM, the airline's parent company, said it would pursue "aggregated violence" charges against the protesters.
The job cuts are part of a major restructuring plan by Air France, dubbed "Perform 2020". It plans to reduce costs by €1.8 billion over the next two years by cutting jobs for 1,700 ground staff, 900 cabin crew and 300 pilots. Air France will also scrap several routes to India and south-east Asia.