PARIS: French airline Air France yesterday launched an offensive to compete with low-cost carriers, offering flights from four French hubs to 58 destinations in Europe and around the Mediterranean at fares starting from ¤49 ($64) for passengers who travel with carry-on baggage.
“Air France aims to adapt to the changes in purchasing behaviour and the new expectations of travellers, while at the same time attracting new customers,” it explained in a statement.
It said that the programme was aimed at the 60 percent of clients for whom the lowest price was the most important factor.
The new offer is part of a restructuring plan presented a year ago which is designed to save Air France ¤2bn by 2015, chairman Alexandre de Juniac told a press conference. Low-cost tickets went on sale yesterday for flights beginning on February 6, and were expressly “aimed at clients who might be tempted by low-cost airlines,” de Juniac said.
Although the group posted stronger-than-expected quarterly results in late October, it is under severe financial and cost-cutting pressures and is trying to fight against competition from budget European carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair.
The new fares, which apply to flights from Orly airport south of Paris and growing Air France regional low-cost hubs in Marseille, Nice and Toulouse in southern France, “are a long-term offer” according to the airline’s deputy director at Orly, Florence Parly. AFP