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France DESTINATIONS


A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME


As Air France focuses on Paris, low-cost carriers sense opportunities elsewhere WORDS: ROB GILL


M


any of last year’s headlines about France’s aviation industry revolved around a


seemingly endless series of strikes by air traffic controllers (ATC) and some major changes at legacy carrier Air France.


But while airlines have complained loudly about the effect of these ATC strikes, there is no sign that they are abandoning one of Europe’s largest aviation markets despite the long- running disruptions. This is particularly true of low-cost carriers, who continue to grow their capacity from French airports at a faster rate than Air France and its type. As a whole, legacy airlines’ outbound capacity for summer 2019 will only grow marginally (up by 0.2%), while the low-cost sector’s capacity will rise by 2.9%, according to OAG figures. Ryanair, one of the most vociferous


complainers about ATC strikes, is opening two new bases in France this year in Bordeaux and Marseille as its summer 2019 capacity in France rises to 4.1 million seats, up 12% year-on- year. Ryanair will also add a base at Toulouse for winter 2019/20, enabling it to add another 11 routes. EasyJet, which is well established


as the country’s number-two carrier behind Air France, is also continuing to grow steadily – adding more than 370,000 seats, or 4.2%, this summer, compared with Air France’s growth of just 2% for summer 2019.


routesonline.com ROUTES NEWS 2019 ISSUE 2 71


Air France’s growth is lagging behind that of low-cost carriers


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