Air Corsica (previously CCM Airlines) adds international routes from Marseille; dominates domestic from Corsica

With the newly delivered ATR72, Air Corsica will serve two Italian destinations out of Marseille in its new livery. The airline previously known as CCM Airlines moves into new markets as it only recently has begun facing competition on its flights between Corsica and the French mainland.

The French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean has its own airline focusing on domestic routes to the French mainland. Last October, the airline changed its name from CCM Airlines to Air Corsica and tweaked its corporate identity. The airline operates flights for itself but also on behalf of minority shareholder Air France. Since 2004, Air Corsica has carried between 1.5 and 1.7 million passengers annually. Its current fleet comprises two A319s, two A320s and seven ATR 72-500s. This winter, Air Corsica operates from four Corsican airports to four destinations in mainland France. The weekly frequencies for each route this winter (and in brackets the weekly summer frequencies in August) are summarised in the following table.

Ajaccio (AJA) Bastia (BIA) Calvi (CLY) Figari (FSC)
Airport pax 2010 1,114,573 (+2.3%) 1,007,408 (-0.4%) 273,832 (-4.3%) 437,309 (+8.9%)
Lyon (LYS) 3 (4) 3 (2) 0 (2) 0 (3)
Marseille (MRS) 21 (36) 21 (32) 9 (18) 14 (29)
Nice (NCE) 21 (30) 21 (26) 7 (15) 7 (21)
Paris Orly (ORY) 21 (50) [AF] 21 (40) [AF] 5 (19) [AF] 5 (20) [AF]
Source: Air Corsica, www.aeroport.fr, OAG Max Online for w/c 1 August 2011
[AF] means operated on behalf of Air France

In addition, Air Corsica also operates (on behalf of Air France) 18 weekly flights between Nice and Toulouse using one of the ATRs, as well as twice-daily flights between Marseille and Rome Fiumicino.

Until relatively recently, the routes between Paris and Corsica remained a highly lucrative monopoly protected by their PSO (Public Service Obligation) status, a rather ridiculous state of affairs given that both the Paris-Ajaccio and Paris-Bastia markets generate over 400,000 annual passengers. However, after a false start in 2006, easyJet was finally allowed to enter the market in 2009, since when they have been operating daily flights from Paris CDG to both Ajaccio (since July 2009) and Bastia (since February 2009). As a result, in 2010, the top five routes in terms of annual passengers from Bastia airport were Paris Orly (360,536; down 2.1%), Marseille (254,174; up 1.9%), Nice (99,345; down 2.3%), Paris CDG (80,868; up 0.6%) and Lyon (61,314; down 12%).

Two new Italian routes from Marseille

This week sees the launch of two new international routes from Marseille to Italy. Air Corsica is introducing twice-weekly flights to Florence (on Thursday and Saturday) and three weekly flights to Venice (on Monday, Friday and Sunday). Both routes will be served by the latest (seventh) ATR 72-500 to join the fleet, which will also be the first to appear in the airline’s new, revised colour scheme.


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