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Alsatian
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Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 10:19 pm

Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:06 am

According to the Figaro today, AF could annouce the closure of the Marseilles, Toulouse and Nice bases in september.
In french : Air France songe à fermer ses bases

MRS was launched in october 2011, TLS and NCE followed in april 2012 to compete with the LCC. It seems that the operational operations are quite good but it is a financial failure. Since the beginning, many routes have seen frequencies reductions or have been dropped such as MRS - BSL / CPH / DUS / EIN / IST / HAM... easyJet decided to start its own NCE and TLS bases in march 2012 and Ryanair has still a fair presence at MRS.

AF has just denied this news : Air France dement fermer ses bases
Ok I am French but I am not on strike
 
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usdcaguy
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:11 am

What gets me is that AF decided to use MRS as a base, which is questionable in my mind. What is it about MRS that would make it a lucrative market? I thought it had a sluggish economy, although I realize it is a sizable city and port. I think U2 had a good idea by going after the other two industrial strongholds in France besides Paris, which are TLS and NCE. LYS also has potential, but I thought this was tried years ago; why was this unsuccessful? It would seem the only way AF is going to be able to attack the likes of U2 is to get its cost and pricing structure down to match them. Yes, there are some that may pay a premium to fly AF, but that is likely be insufficient to make up the differential in operating expenses, which is why AF is implementing a transformation plan. Painful stuff.
 
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Alsatian
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:56 pm

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 1):

Air France have selected french secondary cities which are able to fill 150-180 seaters on regional, european and Paris routes. The A32S dedicated to the bases fly mainly to ORY and CDG and then complete their schedule with other routes. For example an A320 based @ TLS on weekdays could do :

AF 6101 TLS 0615 - 0735 ORY
AF 6108 ORY 0815 - 0925 TLS
AF 7868 TLS 1000 - 1120 SXB
AF 7869 SXB 1155 - 1315 TLS
AF 6121 TLS 1400 - 1520 ORY
AF 6156 ORY 1615 - 1725 TLS
...

So only MRS, NCE and TLS match with these standards :

Marseille : Paris Regions Europe YES
Lyon : Regions Europe YES but Paris NO
Toulouse : Paris Regions Europe YES
Nice : Paris Regions Europe YES
Nantes : Regions Europe YES but Paris NO
Strasbourg : Regions YES but Paris and Europe NO
Montpellier : Paris YES but Regions and Europe NO
Bordeaux : Paris and Regions YES but Europe NO
Lille : Regions YES but Paris and Europe NO

AF wanted to start its new bases in Marseilles also as a symbolic response to Ryanair which left MRS due the trial about the clandestine work.

Moreover Volotea has now bases in Nantes + Bordeaux and Strasbourg + Lille are focus cities.
Ok I am French but I am not on strike
 
Azure
Posts: 624
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:34 pm

RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:18 am

Quoting Alsatian (Thread starter):
AF has just denied this news : Air France dement fermer ses bases

AF has no other possibility but to deny this information...

I have always thought AF was doing either too little or too much with these regional bases. I do not believe they are wrong to use MRS as one of them : there is plenty or industrial activity in and around Marseilles. But I am skeptical about the destinations flown from these regional bases.... From NCE for instance, why do AF fly to NAP or ATH (that can both sustain very low yields only) instead of, say, GVA, LHR, CPH or even ARN (the scandinavian community is pretty strong on the French Riviera) ?
 
raffik
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:26 am

That's a shame to hear- and I hope it is just a rumor and nothing will come of it.
How are their regional services to Beirut doing?
- Alec
 
Azure
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:06 am

Quoting raffik (Reply 4):
How are their regional services to Beirut doing?

If I am not mistaken, NCE - BEY is a seasonal route. I have no indication on how it performed last summer.
I wonder if there is any chance AF and ME coordinate their schedules to use BEY as a possible hub from NCE to the Middle East (CAI, SSH, AMM) and the Gulf...
 
raffik
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:09 pm

Quoting Azure (Reply 5):

If I am not mistaken, NCE - BEY is a seasonal route. I have no indication on how it performed last summer.

Air France fly Marseille- Beirut, the schedule being 3 x weekly. And MEA fly Nice - Beirut every summer.
Are the MRS flights seasonal? I heard that ME manage to fill their planes on the Nice route so I imagine AF wouldn't have any problems in turning a profit on their MRS flights.

Quoting Azure (Reply 5):
I wonder if there is any chance AF and ME coordinate their schedules to use BEY as a possible hub from NCE to the Middle East

That would be excellent. I think that currently a lot of transit traffic to the Middle East is taken by Turkish Airlines from Nice to Istanbul and onwards but that is Star Alliance and AF wouldn't code share on any of those flights.
MEA would be a logical choice for AF but either MEA or Air France would have to go year round on the flights- people traveling from Southern France to the Middle East (or Africa , think of ME's destinations to Kano, Lagos, Accra, Abidjan and Kinshasa) would need a steady daily schedule, not just weekly flights during the summer.
- Alec
 
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enilria
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:03 pm

Quoting Alsatian (Thread starter):
It seems that the operational operations are quite good but it is a financial failure.

Heard that story before. The emptier flights are the better they operate! Reminds me of MetroJet and CO Lite.
 
Azure
Posts: 624
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:34 pm

RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:10 pm

Quoting raffik (Reply 6):
currently a lot of transit traffic to the Middle East is taken by Turkish Airlines from Nice to Istanbul and onwards but that is Star Alliance and AF wouldn't code share on any of those flights.

I totally agree with you here. From NCE, TK, QR and EK are capturing an ever growing market share for flights not only to the Middle East but also to South East Asia and, to a lesser extent, to Australia. As a matter of fact AF have to compete with the LCCs on their european network and with the Middle East Airlines for their eastbound destinations. The longer you wait to give your competitors an appropriate response, the more difficult it gets to strike back, thus the mixed results of their new regional bases which were supposed to be an answer to the LCCs. As for the ME airlines, IMO AF should take advantage now of their regional partners, ie ME in BEY and EY in AUH... It would require to base an A319LR in NCE and fly these routes on a daily or almost daily basis. I wonder if they can do this, and even if they have this ambition...

Quoting raffik (Reply 6):
think of ME's destinations to Kano, Lagos, Accra, Abidjan and Kinshasa

Abidjan will work for sure, Kinshasa maybe, but I have more doubts about Kano, Lagos and Accra (not as many French expats as in the first two ones)
 
TimRees
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2001 2:09 am

RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:16 pm

Quoting Azure (Reply 3):
From NCE for instance, why do AF fly to NAP or ATH (that can both sustain very low yields only) instead of, say, GVA, LHR, CPH or even ARN (the scandinavian community is pretty strong on the French Riviera) ?

Can AF compete against BA x 5 to LHR daily, x 3 to LGW and also EZY from LTN, STN and LGW daily. Also BA Cityflyer from LCY next summer again?
I returned from NCE to LHR yesterday afternoon and I'd never seen to Club Europe divider quite so far back in an A319 - it was at row 9 which is the over wing exit row. With so many Club Europe passengers and I suspect many connecting at LHR, AF can't compete on service or frequency.
 
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Alsatian
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RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:40 pm

Quoting TimRees (Reply 9):
Can AF compete against BA x 5 to LHR daily, x 3 to LGW and also EZY from LTN, STN and LGW daily. Also BA Cityflyer from LCY next summer again?

You can even add Norwegian 4 weekly to LGW starting late march.
Ok I am French but I am not on strike
 
Azure
Posts: 624
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:34 pm

RE: Rumor : Air France To Close Its Regional Bases

Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:59 pm

Quoting TimRees (Reply 9):
With so many Club Europe passengers and I suspect many connecting at LHR, AF can't compete on service or frequency.

Well, I have to disagree with you here : a large amount of Club Europe passangers do not mean AF cannot compete on the route : there are many Flying Blue Members on the Riviera and these folks do go to LON from time to time, you know !
Anyway these regional bases were a response to the LCCs and I believe AF could offer a competitive alternative to U2 on the route...

Quoting Alsatian (Reply 10):
You can even add Norwegian 4 weekly to LGW starting late march.

I am not the only one to believe there is still room for competition then  

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