Air Transport World

Air France policies paying off. (mass travel)

Air France policies paying off Paris--Air France traditionally has been seen as a "prestige" airline and, in spite of embracing the era of mass travel, is successfully maintaining that image through an intriguing mix of managerial policies which span the spectrum between the conservative and the radical.

The radical aspect shows up in AF's desire to be ahead of the crowd in technology. It is one of only two airlines in the world--with British Airways--which operates the supersonic Concorde. It will be the launch customer for the high-tech Airbus Industrie A320, receiving the first four aircraft during 1988, and it looks certain to buy the 400 series Boeing 747.

Its conservatism is reflected in attitudes towards European fares and routes liberalization, where its management team under Marceau Long, chairman of the board, favors a step-by-step approach in the style of that of Lufthansa, rather than a U.S. deregulation house-cleaning, with all barriers down in one sweep.

Cautious about 1986

These policies seem to be paying off. The airline made a net profit in 1984 of 530 million francs (U.S. $68 million at December 1985 exchange rates), while setting aside a further 450 million francs ($57 million) for new aircraft. According to Long, speaking to ATW here, the airline will post a gross profit of 1.2 billion francs ($153.9 million) for 1985, but this will reduce after 45% taxes and provision for personnel participation in company profits, to around 550 million francs ($70 million) net. In the first three-quarters of the 1985 fiscal, AF carried 9.6 million passengers, up 2.8% on the same period of 1984, for a load factor of 68. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.