AF shrinks operations at Marseille

Old May 15, 12, 5:46 pm
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AF shrinks operations at Marseille

I just found on airlineroute that AF will cancel four routes (Barcelona, Basel-Mulhouse, Dusseldorf, Beirut) from Marseille in september and will reduce four others (Bordeaux, Brest, Lille and Hamburg). They said their province bases were a key of their strategy, but it seems their new strategy will be to reduce short-haul routes and fraquencies (and staff?).
Here is the link: http://airlineroute.net/2012/05/15/af-mrs-sep12/
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Old May 16, 12, 4:51 am
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I think that it has been clear for a while that this new concept isn't quite working as hoped. Too bad, would have been nice if successful.
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Old May 16, 12, 5:39 am
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Confirms what I heard from an insider from AF revenue management. Province bases seem to be "disastrous" (quoting him).

Not sure though what that means in terms of staff management: with less flights there will be less need for planes and staff stationed in the Provinces, which will limit the savings potential from that move.
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Old May 18, 12, 7:09 am
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I have only done two flights to/from the Nice base since their launch. Both were packed (although of course I have no idea about revenue). The network opened in Marseille (mostly) and Toulouse (secondarily) as part of the bases is enormous (much less so out of Nice, with only 4 destinations added) so I would imagine some will have been far more sustainable than others. Another element is that part of the comparative advantages of the bases in terms of productivity will soon be cancelled out as AF are making it clear that they want to generalise that system to flights to/from Paris anyway.

I think noone really knows where exactly AF's strategy is going. It is pretty clear in terms of the long haul but the short haul is more dubious. They seem to think it costs them money and point-to-point on the cheap as for the bases can be a solution but at the same time if they damage their short haul product to the point people don't connect, traffic to/from Paris, while important, simply does not have the same potential (especially on high rev) as traffic to/from London for example.
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Old May 18, 12, 8:27 am
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please read here as well: http://blog.swiss.com/2012/05/network-part-4.html#more

it's an article from SWISS, but explains something about how airlines make their network and schedule.

Achieving success takes a lot more than simply flying from A to B. For instance, a route which relies heavily on business travel must have at least one connection early and late in the day. That way, business travellers are able to fly out and back on the same day without having to stay overnight. Leisure destinations, on the other hand, are predominantly price-driven. Here, the schedule is less a quality factor than the price the customer is willing to pay for transport. Our commitment as a company to offer a good product is certainly reflected in the timetable as well. For this reason we constantly try to offer our customers, business and leisure alike, the best possible flight schedules.
AF always followed the strategy that they will open new bases-province-routes but allow themselves to close them if the demand doesn't follow. for most bases-province-routes, loads are quite good, but revenue is quite low ...
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Old May 18, 12, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by chrissxb View Post
please read here as well: http://blog.swiss.com/2012/05/network-part-4.html#more

it's an article from SWISS, but explains something about how airlines make their network and schedule.

AF always followed the strategy that they will open new bases-province-routes but allow themselves to close them if the demand doesn't follow. for most bases-province-routes, loads are quite good, but revenue is quite low ...
A couple of months ago, average load factor was around 40% for MRS based flights. So it makes sense to cut non-sense routes such as BSL-MLH or DUS.

AF has currently a major issue with it's MH sector. Load factor is very very low, resulting in a very poor revenue which does not cover operational costs.

I guess this is the result of a poor strategy :
- no real cut has been made in the past on non profiting routes, just to keep the maximum of slots in ORY and avoid them to be grabbed by competition (Vueling, Easyjet mostly) ;
- product has been downgraded so much that many customers moved to Easyjet or other airlines, that offer cheap prices for the same service, and the ability to increase service/product for extra $$ ;
- provinces based is a good idea, but badly implemented. It should have been made directly through a subsidiary and not crew staff with slightly different contract.
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Old May 18, 12, 8:47 am
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Speaking of Swiss, and busy routes that make no money, Lufthansa recently revealed that, although their services to Bangkok (and other Asian destinations) are regularly packed out, they can't make enough revenue on the route and will have to cut down on frequency...if not abandon the route altogether.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/miles...a-nkg-cut.html
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Old May 18, 12, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by chrissxb View Post
please read here as well: http://blog.swiss.com/2012/05/network-part-4.html#more

it's an article from SWISS
Totally offtopic, but I like the Swiss blog quite a lot. It has articles actually interesting, and high in quality. In no way comparable to, say, the official KLM blog. (Im not sure if AF has one)
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Old May 18, 12, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by chrissxb View Post
AF always followed the strategy that they will open new bases-province-routes but allow themselves to close them if the demand doesn't follow. for most bases-province-routes, loads are quite good, but revenue is quite low ...
+1 -- they have always been very straightforward that they intended to continue to launch or discontinue routes from the three bases according to demand, results, and competition
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Old May 25, 12, 3:18 pm
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Come September, KL will stop flying AMS-MRS. Its four daily flights will be replaced with three AF flights.

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Old May 25, 12, 4:56 pm
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Although that does actually increase capacity. KL used the small Embraers, while AF will fly using the A320 series
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Old May 29, 12, 1:04 am
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Looks like they've done a swap, as KLC will be taking over the AMS-LYS route from AF, also in September, flying E190s instead of A318s. With the number of flights staying unchanged at three, this will result in a capacity reduction.

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Old May 29, 12, 1:44 am
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
Although that does actually increase capacity. KL used the small Embraers, while AF will fly using the A320 series
Indeed, but capacity is not everything: now passengers buying business class fares from/to MRS via AMS will be entitled to the gorgeous all-economy-non-reclining service for the first and last 2 hours of their itineraries... By contrast, LYS is losing pax but gaining EBC for the connecting part of their long haul J itineraries...
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Old Jun 12, 12, 4:26 am
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Air France rapidly grows Marseille base but with swift network changes along the way

CAPA: Air France rapidly grows Marseille base but with swift network changes along the way

Marseille Airport capacity (seats per week, by carrier): 11-Jun-2012 to 17-Jun-2012:


Air France 10 largest bases (seats): 11-Jun-2012 to 17-Jun-2012
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Old Jun 12, 12, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
Indeed, but capacity is not everything: now passengers buying business class fares from/to MRS via AMS will be entitled to the gorgeous all-economy-non-reclining service for the first and last 2 hours of their itineraries... By contrast, LYS is losing pax but gaining EBC for the connecting part of their long haul J itineraries...
This would make it more attractive to take the train between the MRS area and either Paris or Nice for flights.

Whenever I've flown to/from MRS, the flight has been packed. This has been mostly from CDG, but Orly and AMS too on AF/AirInter and KLM respectively.

Air Europa at least used to run a nonstop RJ between BCN and MRS and it too was packed. On this flight, business class was sold for an all coach aircraft. The difference was special check in lines and lounge access, at least for a contract lounge IIRC at BCN.
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