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Dieuwer
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Ben Smith tackles Air France

Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:40 pm

Some juicy quotes:

You go look at the Air France African network and you just go, ‘What is this?'” “It’s like this tangled web.

I got in there and thought, ‘Wow, where do we start?

How the hell do you market that product? (speaking about La Premiere)


https://skift.com/2019/07/02/new-air-fr ... ir-france/

Never knew AF is THAT of a mess.
 
PANAMsterdam
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:57 pm

Juicy quotes indeed. I have high hopes to be honest, even after the blunder Smith made in the beginning, because the employee morale on the Dutch side tanked with the whole Elbers saga.

Now that Elbers’ job is saved, let’s turn AF around. KL is doing quite well, but at AMS there is still the overall feeling of “The money made in Amsterdam (KL) is spent in Paris (AF)”. I have spoken with quite a few KLM staff members and the common strikes at AF makes them sick and tired. “We’re working our butts off to make a profit and with one strike in Paris everything we saved the company is gone”

What he said about La Premiere shocked me to be honest. Indeed, how are you going to market a product that is not even there all the times? Unbelievable that a “premier” carrier like AF could this let have happened.
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Aesma
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:11 pm

He may not have heard of Françafrique yet. I'm sure someone has called him now to make him aware.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
ubeema
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:08 pm

Aesma wrote:
He may not have heard of Françafrique yet. I'm sure someone has called him now to make him aware.

Indeed a quick call with Quai d’Orsay will give him the real picture
 
boeingguy1
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:28 pm

Great article, thanks for sharing.

I'm particularly interested in the highlight of short-haul losing loads of cash for AF. At the surface, a no-brainer to reduce intra-France flights and replace with Transavia... but with AF unions resistant to any type of change, I won't hold my breath.

Will Ben be the change agent AF needs? Maybe - and based on the article, i'm optimistic.
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SteelChair
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:50 pm

Will he be allowed to implement the needed reforms or will the bureaucracy prevent it and ultimately see what he is let go?
 
rukundo
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:35 am

He may not have heard of Françafrique yet. I'm sure someone has called him now to make him aware.


I don't know, if the British has a similar system, like Françafrique, with her former colonies, in Africa, but since 2000s, British Airways closed many routes to their former African colonies. Routes weren't not longer profitable:

Entebbe (Uganda), closed in 2015: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33650832

Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), closed in 2013: https://www.eturbonews.com/66720/britis ... -tanzania/

Khartoum (Sudan), operated by BA, then by British Mediterranean Airways, till mid 2000s and the closure of the airline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_M ... an_Airways. BA mainline didn't resume service to KRT

Lilongwe (Malawi). I can't find the year.

Lusaka (Zambia) closed in 2013 https://www.lusakatimes.com/2013/09/04/ ... aka-route/

Harare (Zimbabwe) closed in 2007 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldn ... babwe.html

Freetown (Sierra Leone) operated by British Mediterranean Airways, till mid 2000s and the closure of the airline. Resumed early 2010s, but closed in mid 2010s, due to the Ebola outbreak.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_M ... an_Airways & http://www.thisissierraleone.com/britis ... o-liberia/ & https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com ... d-liberia/

Monrovia (Liberia) resumed in 2012, closed in 2014 ttp://www.thisissierraleone.com/british ... o-liberia/ & https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com ... d-liberia/

Air France is still making profits on Africans routes, but profits down, from 2017 to 2018, due to a stiff competition. It's not a suprise, if some Africans routes are now served by B787-9 (a soon the A350) or with aircraft fitted with the last Air France retrofit. I understand, why Ben Smith wants to make some changes, on the AF African network.

Air France KLM increasingly challenged in the African skies by companies from Africa and the Middle East
https://translate.googleusercontent.com ... vApZ-Cq6fg

Addis Ababa is now biggest airport in the world for the trafic between African and the rest of the world. Addis Ababa has overtaken Dubai as the world’s gateway into Africa https://qz.com/africa/1478653/ethiopias ... to-africa/
 
FromCDGtoSYD
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:54 am

Historically africa has been a huge source of revenue for AF. The triangular routes are common in the region, just look at SN.

I'm wondering if AF shouldn't have purchased SN, its no secret LH group bought them out because of their strength in Africa and they have been bolstering their presence there wereas AF seems to keep on losing ground.

I know a few people who often fly F between africa and asia and after sticking with AF for years, neverending operational disruptions has made them switch to EK. AF has clearly been neglecting their network for too long...
 
AirwayBill
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:57 am

He's just being cheeky. As a new CEO he has too make a statement and give an impression.
 
kimimm19
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:05 am

I mean can you blame him?

Surely it's actually a very difficult job to turn AF around.
 
giblets
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:36 am

rukundo wrote:

I don't know, if the British has a similar system, like Françafrique, with her former colonies, in Africa, but since 2000s, British Airways closed many routes to their former African colonies. Routes weren't not longer profitable:-


Is it a case of not profitable, or less profitable? BA more than most EU airlines suffers from slot constraints, as such they have a tendency to re-allocate slots to more profitable routes more readily than others.


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Waterbomber2
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:20 pm

From the article:

As long as Norwegian exists, Air France may go with a simpler strategy to thwart it. Air France has large airplanes, including the 516-seat Airbus A380 and a 468-seat Boeing 777-300ER. Air France can discount the last 50 or 100 seats and still make money, Smith said


I think that this guy hasn't figured out which way he wants to go.
As I said numerous timea, the A380 gives an airline like AF the power to compete and he is right about that.

But then again he wants to get rid of them.

So which one is it Mr. Smith?

If he wants to turn AF around, he needs to start making decisions today and big ones.

The African network may be a mess but they're still number 1 on Europe-Africa, so untangling the web should be done with a lot of caution.
These are all one by one very thin routes and destabilising an existing balance brings just as much, if not more risk than doing nothing at all.
 
Antarius
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:36 pm

Waterbomber2 wrote:
From the article:

As long as Norwegian exists, Air France may go with a simpler strategy to thwart it. Air France has large airplanes, including the 516-seat Airbus A380 and a 468-seat Boeing 777-300ER. Air France can discount the last 50 or 100 seats and still make money, Smith said


I think that this guy hasn't figured out which way he wants to go.
As I said numerous timea, the A380 gives an airline like AF the power to compete and he is right about that.

But then again he wants to get rid of them.

So which one is it Mr. Smith?

If he wants to turn AF around, he needs to start making decisions today and big ones.

The African network may be a mess but they're still number 1 on Europe-Africa, so untangling the web should be done with a lot of caution.
These are all one by one very thin routes and destabilising an existing balance brings just as much, if not more risk than doing nothing at all.


You keep saying it, but no one, from well run airline leaders to poorly run ones are clamoring for more a380s.

So
1. You know more than everyone
2. Your off topic a380 pitch is wrong.

Occams razor.
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
Antarius
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:40 pm

FromCDGtoSYD wrote:
Historically africa has been a huge source of revenue for AF. The triangular routes are common in the region, just look at SN.


Historically, due to low competition, AF/SN etc. Have been able to fly wacky triangular routes at high fares. The market has been changing rapidly and AF seems to still be flying their same old monopolistic routes.

Smith is spot on that they need to adapt.
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
Waterbomber2
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:11 pm

Antarius wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
From the article:

As long as Norwegian exists, Air France may go with a simpler strategy to thwart it. Air France has large airplanes, including the 516-seat Airbus A380 and a 468-seat Boeing 777-300ER. Air France can discount the last 50 or 100 seats and still make money, Smith said


I think that this guy hasn't figured out which way he wants to go.
As I said numerous timea, the A380 gives an airline like AF the power to compete and he is right about that.

But then again he wants to get rid of them.

So which one is it Mr. Smith?

If he wants to turn AF around, he needs to start making decisions today and big ones.

The African network may be a mess but they're still number 1 on Europe-Africa, so untangling the web should be done with a lot of caution.
These are all one by one very thin routes and destabilising an existing balance brings just as much, if not more risk than doing nothing at all.


You keep saying it, but no one, from well run airline leaders to poorly run ones are clamoring for more a380s.

So
1. You know more than everyone
2. Your off topic a380 pitch is wrong.

Occams razor.


I would have gone all the way and ousted Elbers anyway. KLM may be profitable on paper but as an airline it is not attractive.
The product is poor, the productivity may be high but the staff isn't working harder than the AF staff, so the productivity gains are at the expense of the passengers, not the staff. The Dutch have made it a theme of national pride to be frugal, so they are used to being in an environment of lean and poor services as long as the main purpose is fulfilled, ie flying from A to B.
But if you do that in France you would have a rebellion on each flight. The Revolution, The Resistance, they didn't happen by chance.

The A380 has potential in Paris but not the way AF is using it.
The aircraft are too premium, I would put 700 seats on them with 40 J seats replaced by 160 Y seats and 11 abreast in Y.
Then you offer value through price and product.
A large Y class can absorb demand on routes between Paris and other megacities. Might not be very profitable on a unit basis but on a volume basis, if you can make 50 EUR off of each installed seat everyday (or 25 EUR per seat per sector if flying 2 long sectors per day) , a fleet of 30 A380 should result in a half billion EUR annual profit.

It's not rocket science but many airlines are misunderstanding yield management especially at the scale of the A380.
 
Eikie
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:25 pm

Waterbomber2 wrote:
The Dutch have made it a theme of national pride to be frugal, so they are used to being in an environment of lean and poor services as long as the main purpose is fulfilled, ie flying from A to B.

I'll bet >80% of the passengers "used to being in an environment of lean and poor services" amd flying on klm are not Dutch.

So either most people on earth are "used to being in an environment of lean and poor services", or your story does make little sense.

And maybe the French work the same hours as the Dutch, but a profit can come from many sources, not just a reduction in service to passengers. Like dropping or finetuning unprofitable routes, what this article is actually about.
 
bennett123
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:48 pm

waterbomber2

If the Dutch national theme is to be frugal, what is the French one?.
 
VV
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:14 pm

How long will he survive at Air France?
 
Jetty
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:20 pm

bennett123 wrote:
waterbomber2

If the Dutch national theme is to be frugal, what is the French one?.

Must be strikes and violent protests. :smirk:
 
mig17
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:26 pm

VV wrote:
How long will he survive at Air France?

Who is he talking to? He is supposed to be the boss at AF/KL now, but he is "pleading" for changes ...
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jbs2886
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:43 pm

Please don't make this another A380 thread.
 
leftcoast8
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:47 pm

rukundo wrote:
Addis Ababa is now biggest airport in the world for the trafic between African and the rest of the world. Addis Ababa has overtaken Dubai as the world’s gateway into Africa https://qz.com/africa/1478653/ethiopias ... to-africa/


I wonder why BA gave up on Ethiopia. In 2006 I flew YVR-LHR-HBE-ADD with BMED's London-Alexandria-Addis sector on an A321 (10 hours); I think it was the longest A32x flight in the world at that time. We flew through thunderstorms over the Ethiopian Highlands on approach to Addis, and on the way out I was able to see the sun rise over the Nile River. Then when BMI acquired BMED, they sold their pre-existing LHR slots to BA and absorbed the London-Addis route, switching between Beirut and Amman as the stopover for about five years. Finally, the route was axed when BMI was acquired by IAG in 2012, giving BA the old BMED slots again and coming full circle. The only UK-Ethiopia service has been from Ethiopian for the last 6-7 years.

Maybe it's because Turkish has really cheap 1-stop fares to Addis. Or maybe it's because BA, as a premium-heavy airline, decided not to compete with Lufthansa's 5 weekly 343 service (Germany is Ethiopia's largest trading partner, and there used to be daily FRA-ADD-KRT 346 service, then FRA-JED-ADD, before Lufthansa made Addis a dedicated route) on such a low-yielding route. Remember, despite its massive growth, Ethiopia is still by and large desperately poor.
 
VV
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:01 pm

jbs2886 wrote:
Please don't make this another A380 thread.


Why? Air France still has some A380 in their fleet.
 
Waterbomber2
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:19 pm

Eikie wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
The Dutch have made it a theme of national pride to be frugal, so they are used to being in an environment of lean and poor services as long as the main purpose is fulfilled, ie flying from A to B.

I'll bet >80% of the passengers "used to being in an environment of lean and poor services" amd flying on klm are not Dutch.

So either most people on earth are "used to being in an environment of lean and poor services", or your story does make little sense.

And maybe the French work the same hours as the Dutch, but a profit can come from many sources, not just a reduction in service to passengers. Like dropping or finetuning unprofitable routes, what this article is actually about.



Most people probably fly KLM once never to fly them again.
I avoid them like the pest. Last month I paid 20% percent more to avoid KLM which was the cheapest option.
For the anecdote:
On my last KL flight about a year ago, the climate control was set so low (to save on bleed air and money) that my Ducth neighbors, a couple in their 30ies, stole my blanket while I was asleep (again from the cold). It was too much to ask for another blanket, probably because they expected a frugal "no" answer. But I didn't think even a second about it and pushed the call bell, never saw the FA appear. So I told the Dutch couple to move over but they weren't moving (what an attitude), so I just stepped on their feet on the way to the aisle. Did they really think that they could win on attitude?
The FA gave me "I don't know if we have one left" answer but I planted myself in the galley until they eventually brought me one.
The cabin crew never came around with drinks and were busy with their own stuff.
The food was minimal for the 12 hour flight.

The Americans have a saying for this: tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.


IMO KLM is as much a problem as AF, if not a bigger one.
For AF, having such a low value partner as the only major partner in Europe drags both airlines down, even if it may seem to be making money.


So IMO one of the options at the group level is to look into building AF as the premium brand and KLM the low-cost brand.
AF's ground services aren't too bad, they have improved their lounge offering a bit lately too.
In terms of flights I couldn't say, they have never inspired me to book them. Bring back the A380 on the NRT route and they will be my airline of choice.

People vote with their wallets, JAL's huge profits are proof of that.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:25 pm

Jetty wrote:
bennett123 wrote:
waterbomber2

If the Dutch national theme is to be frugal, what is the French one?.

Must be strikes and violent protests. :smirk:


To employ lots of French nationals at good wages, and to make sure foreign firms don't disrupt that.

SteelChair wrote:
Will he be allowed to implement the needed reforms or will the bureaucracy prevent it and ultimately see what he is let go?


What needed reforms? Everything is working great. Lots of employees... generous wages and benefits. :)

Delta may get a return on its investment in AF-KL by virtue of coordination of flights on DL metal, but if it ever thought it would get a return on its equity stake (as in getting a risk-adjusted return, selling equity for a higher price years later), it's crazy.
 
Jetty
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:28 pm

Waterbomber2 wrote:
Eikie wrote:
Waterbomber2 wrote:
The Dutch have made it a theme of national pride to be frugal, so they are used to being in an environment of lean and poor services as long as the main purpose is fulfilled, ie flying from A to B.

I'll bet >80% of the passengers "used to being in an environment of lean and poor services" amd flying on klm are not Dutch.

So either most people on earth are "used to being in an environment of lean and poor services", or your story does make little sense.

And maybe the French work the same hours as the Dutch, but a profit can come from many sources, not just a reduction in service to passengers. Like dropping or finetuning unprofitable routes, what this article is actually about.



Most people probably fly KLM once never to fly them again.
I avoid them like the pest. Last month I paid 20% percent more to avoid KLM which was the cheapest option.
For the anecdote:
On my last KL flight about a year ago, the climate control was set so low (to save on bleed air and money) that my Ducth neighbors, a couple in their 30ies, stole my blanket while I was asleep (again from the cold). It was too much to ask for another blanket, probably because they expected a frugal "no" answer. But I didn't think even a second about it and pushed the call bell, never saw the FA appear. So I told the Dutch couple to move over but they weren't moving (what an attitude), so I just stepped on their feet on the way to the aisle. Did they really think that they could win on attitude?
The FA gave me "I don't know if we have one left" answer but I planted myself in the galley until they eventually brought me one.
The cabin crew never came around with drinks and were busy with their own stuff.
The food was minimal for the 12 hour flight.

The Americans have a saying for this: tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.


IMO KLM is as much a problem as AF, if not a bigger one.
For AF, having such a low value partner as the only major partner in Europe drags both airlines down, even if it may seem to be making money.


So IMO one of the options at the group level is to look into building AF as the premium brand and KLM the low-cost brand.
AF's ground services aren't too bad, they have improved their lounge offering a bit lately too.
In terms of flights I couldn't say, they have never inspired me to book them. Bring back the A380 on the NRT route and they will be my airline of choice.

If we forget about your anecdote and look at thousands of reviews by actual passengers KLM has the best business class in Europe and better ratings than AF in general: https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersCh ... cCosEurope

People vote with their wallets, JAL's huge profits are proof of that.

As are AF's huge losses i suppose? :scratchchin:
 
cpd
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:14 pm

AirwayBill wrote:
He's just being cheeky. As a new CEO he has too make a statement and give an impression.


I think so too. New CEOs are always quick to be noisy about how great a job they’ll do - and they always claim “success at once”.

Wait and see about a year or two later if the CEO is just another empty shell, all talk and no results.
 
flyyul
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:06 am

As somebody who worked closely//mentored by Ben for over a decade I'll speak to his strengths:

1.) His main expertise is in commercial strategy, fleet and network planning. He was the main architect of Air Canada's international expansion strategy for which results continue to impress the markets.

2.) He was the main person behind landing landmark long-term win/win deals with all of Air Canada's unions - a feat that most would have thought impossible not long ago.

Undoubtedly this is what convinced the AF/KL board to seek his candidacy.

If there's a person that can turn around Air France, and extract the full potential of AF/KL it's certainly him. In less than 1 year his team has;
-Landed deals with most of their unions that not long ago cost the airline hundreds of millions in strike actions
-Made hard fleet decision including the removal of A380s - if you think this decision is a poor one, just look at LH.
-Landed a spot on KL supervisory board - so for the 1st time the synergy between AF/KL can actually be explored (fleet/product/network harmonization).

For the first time in its history, the group has a CEO that actually has an airline track record and is being run by a competent management team that has proven results in airline turn-around activities. You may be skeptical on whether the challenge is too big to overcome, but it shouldn't be debated that Ben doesn't have the right credentials to unlock the full potential of AF/KL.
 
berari
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:47 pm

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:33 am

leftcoast8 wrote:
rukundo wrote:
Addis Ababa is now biggest airport in the world for the trafic between African and the rest of the world. Addis Ababa has overtaken Dubai as the world’s gateway into Africa https://qz.com/africa/1478653/ethiopias ... to-africa/


I wonder why BA gave up on Ethiopia. In 2006 I flew YVR-LHR-HBE-ADD with BMED's London-Alexandria-Addis sector on an A321 (10 hours); I think it was the longest A32x flight in the world at that time. We flew through thunderstorms over the Ethiopian Highlands on approach to Addis, and on the way out I was able to see the sun rise over the Nile River. Then when BMI acquired BMED, they sold their pre-existing LHR slots to BA and absorbed the London-Addis route, switching between Beirut and Amman as the stopover for about five years. Finally, the route was axed when BMI was acquired by IAG in 2012, giving BA the old BMED slots again and coming full circle. The only UK-Ethiopia service has been from Ethiopian for the last 6-7 years.

Maybe it's because Turkish has really cheap 1-stop fares to Addis. Or maybe it's because BA, as a premium-heavy airline, decided not to compete with Lufthansa's 5 weekly 343 service (Germany is Ethiopia's largest trading partner, and there used to be daily FRA-ADD-KRT 346 service, then FRA-JED-ADD, before Lufthansa made Addis a dedicated route) on such a low-yielding route. Remember, despite its massive growth, Ethiopia is still by and large desperately poor.


Your description of flying in and out of ADD brings back memories, the sunrise over the nile, and the scape on approach to Addis.

I don't know still how BMed made the route to ADD work. It was fed by fellow OneWorld at LHR I believe, and perhaps had some tour traffic out of UK.

Re: LH, it has adjusted its flight multiple times. As you said, it's operated via KRT, and JED, or as a continuing on to SAH at some point (I recall flying nonstop into ADD and counting 6 pax onward to SAH on an A343 as I was the last to deplane at ADD.) Today, Lufthansa CityLine operates on behalf of LH nonstop between FRA and ADD using the A343. LH also codeshares on the daily A350 flight operated by Ethiopian.
 
Someone83
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Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:30 am

While not flawless, like us writing here at a.net.....so far in during his short period at AF-KLM, he has taken more good decisions and delivered better that all his predecessors during the last decade

And it is still funny that he looks like «Littlefinger»
 
Waterbomber2
Posts: 1338
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:44 am

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:37 am

flyyul wrote:
As somebody who worked closely//mentored by Ben for over a decade I'll speak to his strengths:

1.) His main expertise is in commercial strategy, fleet and network planning. He was the main architect of Air Canada's international expansion strategy for which results continue to impress the markets.

2.) He was the main person behind landing landmark long-term win/win deals with all of Air Canada's unions - a feat that most would have thought impossible not long ago.

Undoubtedly this is what convinced the AF/KL board to seek his candidacy.

If there's a person that can turn around Air France, and extract the full potential of AF/KL it's certainly him. In less than 1 year his team has;
-Landed deals with most of their unions that not long ago cost the airline hundreds of millions in strike actions
-Made hard fleet decision including the removal of A380s - if you think this decision is a poor one, just look at LH.
-Landed a spot on KL supervisory board - so for the 1st time the synergy between AF/KL can actually be explored (fleet/product/network harmonization).

For the first time in its history, the group has a CEO that actually has an airline track record and is being run by a competent management team that has proven results in airline turn-around activities. You may be skeptical on whether the challenge is too big to overcome, but it shouldn't be debated that Ben doesn't have the right credentials to unlock the full potential of AF/KL.


I am skeptical.
It's easy to sign salary increase agreements, you still have to pay for them somehow.
This is a risky strategy for a loss-making coloss like AF.

Keeping front line employees is important, yes, but giving in to salary negotiations is the easy and worst route.
I think that profit-sharing is much more stimulating, long-lasting and less risky. A higher salary stimulates for a few months at best.

Getting rid of A380's is also the easy route but it only costs money. Trying to make money with them is the tough but rewarding route.

So far I have seen too little coming from this manager to clap my hands.
I had hopes when there was talk about ousting Elbers, but there too he gave in.

It's easy to give in and give in.
That might work in Canada but in Europe you get stepped over if you keep giving in too much.
 
FromCDGtoSYD
Posts: 387
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:29 am

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:57 am

mozart wrote:
And for the record: as a passenger, I happen to dislike KLM profoundly on long haul J flights (didn't take them in Y yet), and I am indifferent on European flights on mainline, and dislike the no-free-neighbouring-seat on the ERJ fleet in Business Class. On longhaul, 2-2-2 configured cabins (except on the 789), what a joke. The food is atrocious, the non-refurbished lounge an offense and the refurbished lounge still not good.


Pretty much spot on
 
SCQ83
Posts: 5785
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:32 pm

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:55 am

Aesma wrote:
He may not have heard of Françafrique yet. I'm sure someone has called him now to make him aware.


As others have mentioned BA stopped many former colonial capitals. Even Iberia doesn't bother with Malabo anymore.

Maybe Air France could get an agreement with some Maghreb carrier to connect passengers to some of those tiny African capitals. Traffic between Paris/France and Morocco/Algeria/Tunisia is huge and those local carriers are expanding quite a bit in Africa.

RAM would be the perfect carrier but it seems they are gearing more towards IAG/Oneworld. So maybe Air Algérie. ALG has also a brand new terminal that should make connections feasible.
 
oceanvikram
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 12:00 pm

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:23 pm

SteelChair wrote:
Will he be allowed to implement the needed reforms or will the bureaucracy prevent it and ultimately see what he is let go?


When Smith got appointed, I think I posted in the forum that he won’t last long. I am impressed that he has lasted this long hence I am an arm chair CEO and he is a CEO.

Maybe Kotter’s change management frame work is not applicable due to French work place rules and regulations. Maybe the reforms will have to be a slow and lengthy process. Or he can do it overnight, in today’s world anything is possible.
My comments are based as an aviation enthusiast first, then as a passenger who paid for his own ticket, after that a passenger on a business trip and finally an armchair CEO.
 
Antarius
Posts: 2492
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:57 pm

Waterbomber2 wrote:
, the climate control was set so low (to save on bleed air and money)


This makes no sense. Physics.

Waterbomber2 wrote:
People vote with their wallets, JAL's huge profits are proof of that.


At the risk of introducing facts into the discussion, KL is the profitable one in the AFKL group.
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
rukundo
Posts: 234
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 3:10 am

Re: Ben Smith tackles Air France

Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:58 pm

Is it a case of not profitable, or less profitable? BA more than most EU airlines suffers from slot constraints, as such they have a tendency to re-allocate slots to more profitable routes more readily than others.


Good point. Official statement, said that routes were not profitable, but in deed BA had probably needed more slots, so they have closed some routes.

As others have mentioned BA stopped many former colonial capitals. Even Iberia doesn't bother with Malabo anymore.

Maybe Air France could get an agreement with some Maghreb carrier to connect passengers to some of those tiny African capitals. Traffic between Paris/France and Morocco/Algeria/Tunisia is huge and those local carriers are expanding quite a bit in Africa.

RAM would be the perfect carrier but it seems they are gearing more towards IAG/Oneworld. So maybe Air Algérie. ALG has also a brand new terminal that should make connections feasible.


French Newspaper La Tribune, said today, that Air France is interested by the A321 XLR, to use them, on some Africans routes. But not order a short term

"As for the A321 XLR, the long-haul single-aisle Airbus, it is also studied but does not seem to be in the short-term plans. According to observers, this device to be used for serving African capitals."
https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-fi ... 23498.html (i can't translate the article, with google traduction, sorry)

You read the thread about future Air France orders: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1426877

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