Air Transport World

A quintessential quintet.(REGIONALS)

AS AIR FRANCE BEGINS PREPARING to deploy the A380 as the first European airline to fulfill its strategy to be a dominant long-haul player, regional operations seem almost trivial. Nonetheless, it does cherish its little ones.


The French pillar of the Air France KLM Group works with five regional carriers, three of which are wholly owned: Morlaix-based Brit Air, Dublin-based CityJet and Regional-Compagnie Aerienne Europeenne, the latter an amalgamation of three airlines (see box, p. 68). Air France acquired Brit Air and CityJet in 2000 and added Regional to its portfolio a year later. It holds a minority stake in its two other regional partners--19.5% in Paris Orly-based turboprop operator Airlinair through Brit Air and a direct 12% stake in CCM Airlines, which was created in 1989 to serve Corsica. Its three 100%-owned subsidiaries employ 3,700 people and operate about a third of AF's fleet of 380 aircraft.

Including the two partly owned carriers, the regional quintet operated 140 aircraft on 802 daily flights in the past winter schedule compared to 137 aircraft on 794 daily flights in the year-ago period. This represented 45% of total AF flights and 48% of its short- and medium-haul schedule. In terms of passenger numbers, the five transported 19% of AF's system-wide customers and about 26% of short-/medium-haul passengers.

"One of the main characteristics of our regional airlines is that they are not only capacity providers but they are airlines in their own right," Executive VP-Network Management and Marketing Bruno Matheu tells ATW at AF's headquarters at Paris CDG. …

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