Air France maintains Paris dominance especially on domestic route

Image: Air France place on apron
Air France snatches 60% of flights and seat capacity at CDG and around half of all scheduled capacity at Orly – taking a leading position at both major Paris airports.

In the same way that London’s multiple airports dominate air travel in the United Kingdom, air travel in and out of France is dominated by Paris, which is served by two main airports at Orly and Roissy (Charles de Gaulle). In 2008 London’s five major airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City) handled some 57% of all passengers travelling through UK airports while Orly (26.2 million annual passengers in 2008) and CDG (60.9 million) accounted for almost 60% of all passenger movements at French airports.

However, whereas in the UK British Airways is the leading airline at just one of the five London airports (with less than 50% of traffic at Heathrow), Air France remains by far the dominant airline at both major Paris airports. At CDG it accounts for almost 60% of flights and seat capacity while serving almost 150 destinations non-stop.

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Number of routes (Int. / Dom.)
Air France 58.7% 57.4% 149 (137/12)
easyJet 4.8% 4.7% 20 (17/3)
Lufthansa 5.8% 3.4% 10 (10/0)
Vueling 1.5% 1.7% 6 (6/0)
Alitalia 1.4% 1.4% 3 (3/0)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009

easyJet trails in a distant second with less than 5% of flights and seats and serving just 20 destinations, including three in France (Bastia, Biarritz and Nice).

Air France’s network consists of non-stop routes to some 75 foreign countries including 13 to the USA, 12 to Italy, 11 to Germany and eight to the United Kingdom. Seven destinations are served with over 50 weekly flights led by Geneva (74), Madrid (69) and London Heathrow (63). Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt and Munich are the other destinations served with more than seven daily flights on average.

Image: France Airlines
On 10 April Air France took delivery of the 777th 777. It is the first to bear the new Air France livery and company brand identity. “It is a fitting tribute to the success of the programme that an industry leader such as Air France is taking delivery of our 777th 777,” said Aldo Basile, vice president, Sales Europe, Russia and Central Asia for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Orly dominated by Air France’s domestic flights

Meanwhile at Orly, which is significantly closer to downtown Paris, Air France has around half of all scheduled capacity despite operating just 34 routes.

Airline Frequency share Capacity share Number of routes
(Int. / Dom.)
Air France 52.4% 48.3% 34 (10/24)
easyJet 7.7% 8.0% 10 (8/2)
Aigle Azur 3.2% 4.2% 14 (14/0)
Iberia 4.1% 4.1% 7 (7/0)
Royal Air Maroc 3.6% 3.9% 7 (7/0)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009

Of these 34 routes 24 are to domestic destinations (which account for over 40% of seat capacity at the airport) while four of the international routes are to other French overseas territories. This leaves just six international routes to Europe comprising Barcelona, Basle-Mulhouse, Berne, Tunis, London City and Southampton. Here too easyJet is the second busiest operator with around 8% of flights and seats.

Domestic routes from Paris dominated by Air France

On domestic routes from Paris Air France faces minimal airline opposition with just easyJet providing an alternative on two of the top 10 routes as measured by weekly frequencies. Air France’s claim that the TGV provides a serious alternative on many routes is open to considerable debate. In recent years the TGV has had a major impact on traffic flows to Lyon, and more recently Strasbourg. However, both routes are still served with over 60 weekly flights by Air France across the two Paris airports.

Chart: Top Domestic Paris routes
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 30 March 2009

Air France operates more than 100 weekly departures on three routes from Orly. With 1.754 million passengers in 2008 (Source: Marseille airport) the Paris to Marseille route is believed to be the busiest city-pair route in Europe operated by just a single carrier. An attempt by easyJet to serve the Marseille route with multiple daily flights from Orly was started in July 2003 but was abandoned during the winter 2004 season.

Two of easyJet’s domestic services have begun relatively recently. Flights to Bastia (on the island of Corsica) only began on 12 February this year while the Biarritz service began in February 2008.


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