Competition from Air France angers small foreign airlines

The overseas war is declared! Air Caraïbes and Corsair face Air France. They accuse the national airline of leading them into unbridled competition over what they call them “square lawn”, their ” vital space “, namely overseas destinations, mainly West Indies, Reunion and Guyana. A wave of hives that owes its origin to the sharp increase in Air France’s capacity on the lines to this area. An increase in power to compensate for the large number of long-range lines still closed for health reasons.

By its own admission, Air France has, for example, increased its offer to Reunion by 50%, with three daily flights instead of the previous two, including one from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. “This is huge capacities, an oversupply”, worry with the same voice Air Caraïbes and Corsair. In a letter sent about two weeks ago to the Ministers of Economy, Transport and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGAC), the two small companies quantified the “Great redistribution of Air France’s capacity on the roads” abroad. According to their calculations, the effort of Air France “It represents more than 710,000 seats in overcapacity compared to a pre-Covid year, the equivalent of three jumbo jets a day”.

Read also: Article reserved for our members The rescue of Air Austral, a very political mission

An offensive without common measure with the means of the two small rivals. “This forces us to reduce our capabilities. We cannot operate all the flights we would have liked to have done “, says Marc Rochet, general manager of Air Caraïbes. Both companies believe it “this strategy [est] partly financed by the use of state aid received by Air France during the crisis “. Since 2020 France and the Netherlands have been more than generous in saving Air France-KLM from bankruptcy, with a total of € 16.65 billion disbursed in the form of direct loans, state-guaranteed bank loans or capital increases.

In pain for the transport

In its defense, Air France only wants to see it as mere commercial competition. Abroad was one of the areas “More resilient throughout the crisis, with the subsequent recovery of affinity traffic and that of leisure […]. “Refuge” destinations when many travel restrictions restrict international travel “ensures World. According to the company, it just is “to meet this demand that Air France, like its competitors, has progressively expanded its offer, redistributing on these routes aircraft that usually serve other destinations, and in particular Asia”. These explanations do not satisfy Pascal de Izaguirre, CEO of Corsair.

You still have 43.22% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Comment