Air Transport World

Tunisair aims for recovery: the historically profitable airline saw profits fall with tourism in the wake of terrorist attacks.(Profile)

With its year-round fine weather, excellent beaches and inexpensive hotels and restaurants, Tunisia is a natural alternative for Europeans eager to enjoy a holiday on the Mediterranean without paying Southern Europe prices. Tunisair capitalizes on that market, particularly in the summer months when it operates its aircraft as much as 16 hr. per day on mostly short-and intermediate-haul flights into Europe.

Reflecting strong leisure demand, the airline's traffic is split 50/50 between scheduled and charter and it operates charter flights into 93 European airports. A large expatriate population, primarily in France, also helps to keep flights full during the summer, when Tunisians working abroad come home on government-mandated low fares for visits and vacations.

Until 2000, this formula with its heavy reliance on discretionary travel added up to profitability for the state-owned airline. …

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