France finally becoming a low-fare market

FRENCH CONNECT 2010: Although Air France dominates it home market much more than the ‘flag’ carriers in UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, the market is changing and a real domestic low-fare network is beginning to emerge.

According to Ralph Anker of though, the scenario among most of the French airports is one of recovery following the economic downturn. He reported to conference delegates in Lourdes that only Marseille, Beauvais, Lille and Ajaccio exhibited growth among the airports in 2009.

On low-fare French domestic routes, easyJet and Ryanair are leading the way with services such as Bordeaux–Lyon, Lyon–Toulouse, Lyon–Nice and Marseille–Nantes. Over the past 14 months, 153 new short-haul routes involving 24 French airports and 37 airlines have been launched. Ryanair and easyJet added 37 and 33 new routes respectively. A significant change in the introduction of these routes, Anker highlighted, is that they are being launched with lower and lower average frequency.

Anker noted that services going out of France during the 2010 summer season compared with that of 2009 show that the UK is still the top destination, but the capacity planned is down 10%. Destinations across the Mediterranean are showing the biggest surge, with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia all in double digit growth.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/

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