Fast-growing Aigle Azur carves niche in France to Algeria market

Last year: The Algerian minster of tourism Chérif Rahmani and Aigle Azur president Arezki Idjerouidène sign an important contract to heavily promote Algeria in France and develop more destinations. In recent months the deal has quickly delivered new services (and lower fares): Marseille to Algiers (served six times weekly initially) and Lyon to Bejaia (weekly) while next week sees the launch of a twice-weekly service from Paris CDG to Oran.

Aigle Azur is a bit of a secret airline; and surprisingly big and well equipped. With a fleet of 11 Airbus aircraft Aigle Azur can trace its roots back to 1946 when Sylvain Floirat first established an airline with the name. Since 2001 the airline has been part of Groupe GoFast, a transportation and logistics company based in France.

Traffic doubled since 2004

With a reported 1.46 million passengers being flown on the airline in 2008 this represents an almost doubling since 2004 when just 752,000 passengers were carried (Source: DGAC). The airline’s network is focussed around serving North African countries (particularly Algeria) from various French airports.

Chart: Top 10
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009

For this summer the leading airports involved in scheduled services are Paris Orly and Algiers. A total of 25 airports are being served of which 13 are in Algeria. Around three-quarters of the airline’s scheduled capacity is on routes between France and Algeria. Other destinations served include Djerba in Tunisia and Bamako in Mali.

Image: planes on the apron
Aigle Azur operates a fleet of three A319s, four A320s and four A321s which are used primarily to link French airports with Algeria and other North African countries.

Five routes are served at least daily this summer led by a thrice-daily service between Orly and Algiers. Air Algerie operates 17 weekly departures on this route. Lisbon is served twice daily from Paris Orly, a route served five times daily by TAP Portugal. Furthermore Air France, easyJet and TAP Portugal also operate between Paris CDG and Lisbon. The remaining three routes that are served daily by Aigle Azur are from Orly to Oporto, Orly to Oran and Marseille to Algiers.

Two new routes this winter

New routes that started for the recent winter season were Marseille to Algiers (served six times weekly initially) and Lyon to Bejaia (also in Algeria) which was operated weekly. Next week sees the launch of a twice-weekly service from Paris CDG to Oran, complementing the existing Paris Orly service.

The airline also operates ad-hoc charters including bravely transporting Manchester United fans to the Champions League final in Moscow last May.

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