Air France’s latest network strategy sees creation of HOP!, growth at France, and axing of 29 routes

29 Air France routes get guillotined

Air France has completely abandoned 29 routes: By handing over many of its regional routes to HOP!, and other routes to KLM, and its low-cost subsidiary, France, Air France appears to have shrunk considerably. However, if these services are still included in the “Air France” total, the decline in Air France-related flights is less than 5% during the peak summer season.

This week we take a closer look at which routes Air France has deemed surplus to requirements during the last 12 months. This is not as easy as it sounds, as the airline has recently created HOP!, a new regional subsidiary that merges the operations of Airlinair, Brit Air and Régional, into a single, more cohesive brand identity. Most of HOP!’s routes were previously operated with Air France (AF) as the “marketing airline”, but are now operated under HOP!’s own code (A5), with Air France codesharing. In some other cases, Air France has transferred routes (such as Lyon – Tunis and Nantes – Ajaccio) to its low-cost subsidiary France (TO).

Taking these factors into account, has identified 29 routes, previously operated with an AF code, which now appear to have been axed from the Air France Group network. These include a couple previously operated by Air France subsidiary CityJet, which is not part of HOP!, and which is currently for sale. Most of the routes are intra-European, but a few long-haul destinations such as Jeddah and Orlando have also been targeted for cuts.

From To WF in S12 Last Operated Currently operated by
Antwerp* (ANR) Manchester (MAN) 6 16 September 2012 bmi regional
Bordeaux (BOD) Malaga (AGP) 1 01 September 2012 Volotea
London City* (LCY) Eindhoven (EIN) 6 28 March 2013
Lyon (LYS) Amsterdam (AMS) 21 03 September 2012 KLM
Marseille (MRS) Barcelona (BCN) 2 02 September 2012 Vueling
Marseille (MRS) Düsseldorf (DUS) 3 01 September 2012
Marseille (MRS) Hamburg (HAM) 4 27 October 2012
Marseille (MRS) Milan Malpensa (MXP) 11 30 March 2013 Air Corsica
Metz (ETZ) Figari (FSC) 1 29 September 2012
Montpellier (MPL) Deauville (DOL) 1 15 September 2012
Montpellier (MPL) Rennes (RNS) 1 01 September 2012
Nantes (NTE) Bastia (BIA) 1 29 September 2012 Volotea
Nantes (NTE) Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) 1 31 August 2012
Paris CDG (CDG) Belgrade (BEG) 7 03 March 2013 Jat Airways
Paris CDG (CDG) Fort-de-France (FDF) 1 11 May 2013 XL Airways France
Paris CDG (CDG) Jeddah (JED) 3 01 September 2012 Saudia Airlines
Paris CDG (CDG) Orlando (MCO) 3 02 September 2012
Paris CDG (CDG) Pointe-a-Pitre (PTP) 1 12 May 2013 XL Airways France
Paris CDG (CDG) Strasbourg (SXB) 28 01 April 2013
Paris Orly (ORY) Figari (FSC) 24 29 March 2013 Air Corsica
Pau (PUF) Amsterdam (AMS) 2 26 October 2012
Pau (PUF) Dublin (DUB) 1 01 October 2012
Strasbourg (SXB) Biarritz (BIQ) 2 05 January 2013
Toulouse (TLS) Milan Malpensa (MXP) 2 31 August 2012 easyJet
Toulouse (TLS) Vienna (VIE) 4 27 October 2012
Source: Analysis of Innovata / Diio Mi data for w/c 12 August 2013 and w/c 13 August 2012
* Operated by CityJet

In addition to dropping the above 25 European originating routes, Air France has also dropped a number of additional routes that were ‘add-ons’. These are Conakry (Guinea) – Freetown (Sierra Leone); Conakry (Guinea) – Monrovia (Liberia); Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) – Djibouti (Djibouti); and Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe) – Punta Cana (Dominican Republic).

It is also worth noting that some of the European routes were, in effect, handed over to partner airlines, such as Lyon – Amsterdam (to KLM), as well as Paris Orly – Figari, and Marseille – Milan Malpensa (both to Air Corsica).

CDG – Strasbourg axing helps stimulate direct traffic

The biggest route to be completely dropped is that between Paris CDG and Strasbourg, which last operated on 1 April this year. Despite this route representing 13% of Strasbourg’s traffic in 2012, the latest traffic figures from the airport (for April) show that passenger numbers are up 15%, thanks primarily to a 42% increase in passengers to other French airports.

Regional services brought under new HOP! brand

The creation of HOP! at the start of the summer 2013 season, with its own website ( and booking tool, has created some apparent anomalies when analysing airline schedule data. By ‘handing over’ many of its regional routes to HOP!, Air France appears to have shrunk considerably. However, once HOP! services, and those of Air France’s own low-cost subsidiary France are included, the decline in Air France related flights is down less than 5% during the peak summer season, while seat capacity is down less than 4%. Meanwhile ASKs (Available Seat-Kilometres) are actually up almost 1%.

August 2012 August 2013 Change
Air France* flights 8,833 7,293 -17.4%
Air France* seats 1,293,831 1,154,367 -10.8%
HOP! flights 1,018
HOP! seats 70,740 France flights 274 368 +34.3% France seats 49,484 67,995 +37.4%
Total flights 9,107 8,679 -4.7%
Total seats 1,343,315 1,293,102 -3.7%
Source: Diio Mi / Innovata for w/c 13 August 2012 and w/c 12 August 2013
* Includes Airlinair, Brit Air and Régional in August 2012, and CityJet in both August 2012 and August 2013

The rapid growth of France’s capacity this summer, reflects the airline’s wider route network, which now includes serving leisure destinations from not just Paris Orly, but also Lille, Lyon and Nantes. But France’s network has seen its own cuts, with the termination of flights from Paris Orly to Fuerteventura, Granada, Izmir, Palma de Mallorca and Tenerife Sur.


  1. Daniel Ruhier says:

    What about Paris (ORY)-Bern (Switzerland) discontinued after 30 March 2013, WF 12 ?
    How should I rate such incomplete information presented by anna->aero ?
    Not very helpful if the one service that counts for you is missing !
    Daniel Ruhier, Bern/Switzerland

    • Hi Daniel. Thanks for your note. The reason ORY-BRN is not in our list of dropped routes is because of the time period we analysed – a peak week in August 2012 versus a peak week in August 2013. Analysis of the schedule data shows that ORY-BRN did not operate between 30 July 2012 and 26 August 2012, so it wasn’t a route that would show up as being dropped this year. However, you’re quite right, and given that Air France do have a habit of completely cancelling some “business” routes during the peak summer period, there may be other routes that fall into this category.

  2. Andrew Sharp says:

    I understood that AF were going to partner with SNCF on the Strasbourg – CDG route. They planned to give passengers first-class rail travel on the 4 daily return trains and some kind of checked baggage facility. Did this happen, and do you have any more details, please?

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