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DESTINATIONS France “It looks like the low-cost carriers


are circling Air France,” says OAG’s senior analyst John Grant. “There has been rapid growth from all the major LCCs, especially when viewed over four years. LCC capacity has increased by 21% in France in the last four years and now holds a 32% capacity share.” Grant also suggests that Air France may be focusing on its Paris hubs at “the expense” of France’s regional airports, which are benefiting the most from LCC expansion. Aviation analyst John Strickland adds:


“France is a big market, with Paris the second-biggest in Europe. But we’ve seen that capacity has been somewhat constrained by Air France, which has got a hold on the market. “The challenge is that Air France is not that interested in the regional market other than feeding into Paris. Ryanair sees an opportunity in France with these new bases.”


Paris hubs


Long-haul destinations, and China in particular, are a major focus for Groupe ADP, which manages Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris. Consolidation seems to be the name of the game, after these airports added an impressive 66 routes in 2018, including four new Chinese destinations – Chongqing, Shenzhen, Fuzhou and Jinan. Guillaume Arrigoni, Groupe ADP’s aviation marketing director, says: “In 2019, we will strengthen our efforts to attract new airlines, or to convince those which have already set up in Paris, to expand their activities. “Currently for intercontinental traffic, we have 113 destinations directly served from Paris-CDG and Paris-ORY and we’re targeting at least four new intercontinental destinations by 2020.”


Arrigoni adds that Charles de Gaulle has “unique potential for airport development”, with its four runways “theoretically” capable of handling up to 140 million passengers per year – nearly double the traffic of 72.2 million in 2018. However, catering for such a significant increase will necessitate building a fourth terminal. One significant product development


affecting Paris flights has been Air France’s decision to get rid of its short-lived airline brand Joon, which was developed to appeal to “millennial” customers. The arrival of Air France-KLM’s new CEO Benjamin Smith last year seems to have


“In 2019, we will strengthen our efforts to attract new airlines, or to convince those which have already set up in Paris, to expand their activities. We’re also targeting intercontinental destinations” 72 ISSUE 2 ROUTES NEWS 2019 routesonline.com


Paris is being targeted by low-cost carriers


Guillaume Arrigoni


sounded the death knell for Joon, which operated several routes from Paris. Following the decision, Joon’s flights are being reintegrated under the Air France banner. “Despite the many positive impacts of Joon, the brand was difficult to understand from the outset for customers, for employees, for markets and for investors,” explains Air France. “The plurality of brands in the marketplace has created much complexity and unfortunately weakened the power of the Air France brand.”


Regional growth Major regional airports seeing the largest growth in seat capacity this summer include Marseille Provence Airport with 8.9% year-on-year, Bordeaux-Merignac Airport at 9.7% and Nantes Atlantique Airport with 17.3%, which is mainly being driven by the expansion of LCCs. Marseille Provence is adding 24 new


routes in 2019 on top of 21 new destinations introduced last year as it aims to break through the 10 million-passenger barrier – the airport was used by 9.4 million passengers in 2018. As well as Ryanair’s new base, Marseille is welcoming Aeroflot, KLM, SAS, Laudamotion and SunExpress as new carriers for this year. The airport also has its eyes on securing long-haul services from the US, China and the Gulf region, with one of its trump cards being Marseille’s “booming” cruise traffic – the city is home to the fourth busiest cruise port in the Mediterranean. Véronique Lemée Alexandre, Marseille’s head of market research and network development, says the airport is “making a real step forward in its history”.


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