With six times more searches on flight comparators than last year, rising booking rates and new routes, the United States is shaping up to be the destination of the summer. For the airlines that cross the Atlantic from France, the sky is not only finally clear. The summer season will be better than summer 2019. “The desire to travel is there and the savings made allow you to pay for a long trip”, assures Marc Rochet, president of Air Caraïbes and French Bee. The low-cost subsidiary of the Vendée group Dubreuil inaugurates its brand new flight, Orly-Los Angeles, at the start of the afternoon. “We will start with three round trips per week, then increase to six this summer”, projects Marc Rochet, who already operates a Paris-New York service and will open a connection to Miami in December.
The low-cost carrier, with its formula without luggage and without meals at less than 250 euros per ticket, is targeting a so-called leisure clientele, families, students and tourists. It should fill the three planes that French Bee intends for its flights to the United States, that of San Francisco continuing its route to Tahiti.
The passenger disembarks in Reykjavik “for a coffee”
In the sky as on the low price niche, the French low cost will cross the Icelandic Play. The very young company, founded in June 2021, resumed its flights from Paris to the United States last week. All its planes make a stop in Reykjavik, on the way there and on the way back. The passenger disembarks “coffee time”, and change aircraft to New York or Washington. “The American clientele was in high demand for trips to Europe”, Birgir Jonsson, CEO of Play, testifies from his headquarters in Reykjavik.
It is mainly a leisure clientele, but also entrepreneurs who have started to travel again in a much more intense way than the executives of large groups.
Still in the low-cost niche, but this time high-end, La Compagnie, with its 76 business class seats, is also ramping up. The French carrier will increase next week to seven weekly flights between Paris and New York. American customers were the quickest to return to the luxurious cabin of their two new A321s. “72% of the tickets we sell are issued from the United States, observes Christian Vernet, CEO of La Compagnie, it is mainly a leisure clientele, but also entrepreneurs who have started to travel again much more intensely than the executives of large groups. »
Air France has planned a “shuttle” to New York
The absence of a large proportion of these business travelers has not prevented the increase in the number of air movements between Paris airports, the United States and Canada: +21% since November, i.e. 2,200 flights per month. A recovery from which the national company takes full advantage.
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Air France, led by Canadian Ben Smith, not only bet on this take-off, it anticipated it. This summer, it will fly 100% of its aircraft assigned to North American routes. For this, she even had to recruit new pilots and mechanics. “With the exit of the A380 from our fleet, we will even have more flights this summer than in 2019”, says Olivier Piette, program director at Air France. It has planned 200 rotations per week from or to 14 destinations, including one ” shuttle bus “ to New York. Operated with Delta, it will take off at the rate of eight flights a day, or one plane every two hours.
In recent weeks, another piece of good news has bolstered Air France in its North American offensive. The occupancy rate of its premium, business and also Première classes is higher than expected, thanks to a leisure clientele and not business travellers. The first class it offers to five American cities is also popular. This is encouraging news for the company, which derives 40% of its revenue from long-haul, whose primary market is… the United States.