Air Transport World

Vive 1'America!

Resurgent Air France looks to become a major player in the transatlantic market

Five hundred years after Columbus set foot in the New World, Air France has rediscovered it. Or rather, it has rediscovered that growing its presence in North and South America is vital to its ambition to be a global leader. Thus at a time when, other European airlines are trying to reduce their exposure to the vicissitudes of the transatlantic market, Air France is flying in the opposite direction, boosting services and trying to gobble up as much market share as it can.

"The Americas, and particularly the USA, have been selected as the strategic area for the commercial development of Air France and they will benefit from the biggest increase in capacity," says Pascal de Izaguirre, executive VP and COO-Americas.

For the fiscal year ended last March 31, passenger revenues from Americas services rose 11.6% to Ffr9.1 billion. Total passenger revenues, meanwhile, were up only 3.1% to Ffr43 billion, indicating that the Americas routes largely are driving overall revenue growth.

Viewed within the context of long-haul operations, the region's significance becomes even clearer: In the last fiscal year, service to and from the Americas contributed "40% of long-haul ASKs, 42% of long-haul revenue and 21% of total Air France passenger traffic." De Izaguirre sums up: "The Americas is the fastest-growing area within Air France in terms of passenger traffic, revenues and capacity. …

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