NCE longhaul

Old Aug 23, 2023, 3:01 am
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NCE longhaul

I was reflecting on domestic AF J to NCE, a huge destination for holiday and MICE event in Cannes.
There are so many longhaul now. Of course, DL subs for AF to JFK and ATl.
But in addition to these 2 DL flights:
UA to EWR
B0 (La compagnie) EWR
AA to PHL
AC to YUL
TS to YUL

Of course to Asia
QR, EK, EY and others 1-stop on many airlines.

How could AF offer a 1-stop via CDG without a domestic J product on a 1h30 flight.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 3:52 am
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Originally Posted by brunos
I was reflecting on domestic AF J to NCE, a huge destination for holiday and MICE event in Cannes.
...
How could AF offer a 1-stop via CDG without a domestic J product on a 1h30 flight.
What do you mean? AF has technically a domestic J when leaving from CDG. All CDG-NCE flights have a domestic J, though the service is far from being perfect, particularly for food.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 8:17 am
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Originally Posted by brunos
I was reflecting on domestic AF J to NCE, a huge destination for holiday and MICE event in Cannes.
There are so many longhaul now. Of course, DL subs for AF to JFK and ATl.
But in addition to these 2 DL flights:
UA to EWR
B0 (La compagnie) EWR
AA to PHL
AC to YUL
TS to YUL

Of course to Asia
QR, EK, EY and others 1-stop on many airlines.

How could AF offer a 1-stop via CDG without a domestic J product on a 1h30 flight.
I agree with you on the underlying observation that the NCE fast growing longhaul potential is effectively taking connecting traffic away from AF. As you mentioned, 3 daily flights to NYC alone, all three major US airlines with direct flights from next May (rumour also has it that discussions on a non-stop to MIA is on the card), the three ME3 and several other Middle Eastern airlines - GF, KU, SV, etc - with nonstop (and TK and LY which are sort of "quasi ME3" via IST and TLV). Of course, NCE also used to have a nonstop to PEK pre-covid and I suspect that this will come back sooner or later when China becomes "expansive" again in its airline strategy.

However, I'm sceptical about the idea of a one stop longhaul or the commercial viability of it. I guess that deep inside, I think that AF is just too Paris-centric for it so if they did, they'd just organise it as a "regular" e.g. CDG-LAX and tag a NCE-CDG before, but frankly, AF is probably where it wants to be in terms of NCE-CDG capacity so replacing a small frame by a big one is probably not going to happen without one frequency disappearing which would conversely make AF less competitive for some connections. And of course, one stop flights often raise a risk of crew time expiring so needing to change crew en route. Plus how do you do things at CDG? land the NCE-CDG at 2F but then bus everyone else from 2E? Or land the NCE-CDG at 2E but then make it inconvenient for everyone not connecting on the same flight who'd be bussed to 2F?

So maybe an alternative would be to do it the other way round (ie CDG-NCE-xxx rather than NCE-CDG-xxx) because at least at NCE, T2 is organised in such a way that you could easily organise the CDG-NCE to disembark in the Schengen area but the NCE-XXX embark from the non-Schengen with limited disruption as the terminal is smaller and if you use a gate which is at the border between the two or enables tarmak disembarkation into Schengen and jetbridge embarkation from the terminal. But first, that limits logical routes to use this for given geography (maybe reviving the old UTA routes and fly CDG-NCE-CPT for instance?) and second that is where I suspect AF are too Paris centric to offer a one stop from CDG.

A third solution would be to be bold and use the fifth freedom rights to offer two routes that are under-served and with potential. I could imagine something like NCE-MAN-LAX or NCE-BHX-LAX. NCE-MAN exists but U2 and LS have limited service so there might be scope for more, and neither MAN-LAX nor NCE-LAX exist but of course, it would be an overshoot on the European sector. There may be even more exclusivity on BHX though it may have less traffic than MAN. But I somehow doubt AF would venture there.

Of course, there is still the option I mentioned earlier (and with which I think you disagreed that there was potential for very understandable reasons) which was for AF to open some "super peak" route on e.g. NCE-LAX only running in July-August, and I still think that in some ways that would work better in terms of crew organisation than a one stop somewhere but I completely see why others disagree, so that my guess is that AF will simply miss out on that and let others get an increased foot in the door of the lucrative NCE traffic. There is an obvious cost which is that NCE traffic happens to be very, very premium heavy notably in the summer - the nonstop TATL are packed in J and leaving that expensive traffic to others "should" really be heart breaking for AF but my guess is that they are not ready to do something about it.

Last edited by orbitmic; Aug 23, 2023 at 3:32 pm
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 8:48 am
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Separate (related) question. Why can't AF just offer a direct JFK-NCE or LAX-NCE? Plenty of P and J traffic on this route. When I have flown to NCE in P with AF, almost all pax were connecting to NCE in July/August.

Also, AF J is far superior to DL J and in same alliance.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by FLYaway3x
Separate (related) question. Why can't AF just offer a direct JFK-NCE or LAX-NCE? Plenty of P and J traffic on this route. When I have flown to NCE in P with AF, almost all pax were connecting to NCE in July/August.

Also, AF J is far superior to DL J and in same alliance.
This was discussed before, but logistically it is difficult and doesn't make sense to set up a 2nd long-haul base at any other French city besides Paris (CDG and ORY). AF rotates its aircraft and crew to a ton of worldwide destinations and wouldn't have the flexibility to station crews and an intercontinental sub-fleet at NCE. The aircraft coming in from JFK might be needed to fly to SIN, HND, or a dozen other destinations.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 11:08 am
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AF can market both DL flights - and any future ones - under the JV, so as others have said, it makes little to no sense for them to use their own resources for this. Much smarter would be to think about breaking the LH group juggernaught of Central Europe. If NCE could support more long haul, we'd see it from DL, but I suspect it is a bit like other such cities: high tourism volume in the summer, thin commerce traffic year round. LYS is far more financially and commercially active than NCE, in any event.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by brunos
I was reflecting on domestic AF J to NCE, a huge destination for holiday and MICE event in Cannes.
There are so many longhaul now. Of course, DL subs for AF to JFK and ATl.
But in addition to these 2 DL flights:
UA to EWR
B0 (La compagnie) EWR
AA to PHL
AC to YUL
TS to YUL

Of course to Asia
QR, EK, EY and others 1-stop on many airlines.

How could AF offer a 1-stop via CDG without a domestic J product on a 1h30 flight.
In a nutshell, the dynamics of operating out of a particular city can differ greatly between airlines. Just because some demand exists between two cities, doesn't mean an airline should operate it. In the same vein, why doesn't BA operate long-haul flights out of the likes of MAN/EDI/BHX, when there's clearly demand out of those places?

The ME3 and North American carriers have huge connecting feeds through their hubs. What sort of feed can AF hope for at NCE? Furthermore, having a mini long-haul base at NCE would be hugely inefficient.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 12:14 pm
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I agree that it is difficult to see what AF could do about it. And it must be painful to see all this premium traffic going to other airlines.
Just like it is difficult for BA or LH to offer nonstop from elsewhere than their hub cities.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by TATLTAIL
LYS is far more financially and commercially active than NCE, in any event.
NCE commands significantly higher yields than LYS (year round) even though traffic is indeed much higher in the summer season than the winter one. Traffic between the US and NCE in general and premium traffic in particular is also significantly higher than between the US and LYS throughout the year.

Having said that, again, my hunch is that AF is not really keen to open nonstop long haul from either for now, but this may change when the long haul 321 becomes normalised as those might change the economics of such flights quite significantly.
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Last edited by orbitmic; Aug 24, 2023 at 6:37 am
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by SilverChris
In the same vein, why doesn't BA operate long-haul flights out of the likes of MAN/EDI/BHX, when there's clearly demand out of those places?
Maybe not the best example, because as it happens, BA used to fly MAN-JFK nonstop till the 2010s but they stopped in part indeed because they chose to focus on London instead, but in part also because VS had grown a much larger long haul base from MAN and BA simply could not compete.

Where the comparison is apt, however, is that indeed, BA and AF prefer to treat MAN and NCE just like any other domestic airport and as a result, both airlines have become increasingly marginalised as a result of international airlines being able to service those airports a lot better. The bottom line is that if you are going to (or flying from) MAN, you certainly don't have much of a reason to use BA rather than LH, EY, or DL and conversely, if you are going to (or flying from) NCE, you don't have much of a reason to use AF rather than BA, EK or UA. Ultimately, in the summer, AF usually has 8 daily flights between NCE and their main hub at CDG... and BA has 7. The situation is quite similar with BA at MAN (and much worse at BHX which BA has deserted altogether for years)
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Last edited by orbitmic; Aug 23, 2023 at 3:22 pm
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by brunos
I agree that it is difficult to see what AF could do about it. And it must be painful to see all this premium traffic going to other airlines.
Just like it is difficult for BA or LH to offer nonstop from elsewhere than their hub cities.
Actually, LH used to be a lot better at that and used to have a lot of international flights from many large German airports, but the previous LH leadership decided to end that and transfer nonstop traffic from TXL (now BER), DUS, HAM, STR and the likes to Germanwings now Eurowings instead of keeping it with LH mainline. A lot of long haul routes were ended in the process.
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 6:57 pm
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The JV makes DL the right one to serve NCE-JFK (just like AF is superior to service RDU-CDG). It's all a matter of optimizing the aircraft and crew for any given city pair.

The 767 is a good match to the year round level of demand out of NCE (and can be supplemented by a 330/350 should DL see that demand), and the required rest period before a crew can turnaround with no deadheading or other non-value-added time for flight or cabin crews. The opposite for DL versus AF from some of the smaller US stations (RDU/CVG/etc) where the lack of a wide body base/crew base requires deadheading and other non-value-added time for DL crews that AF isn't subject to.

The JV means they can optimize over the entire network!
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Old Aug 23, 2023, 7:36 pm
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As someone who flies USCITY1>USHUB>XXX>NCE in J three times per year for the past 25 years I hope that the newly added flights from UA and AA will result in more competitive pricing for direct flights between the US and NCE. I would looove a reasonably priced option to connect once instead of twiceyear around.
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Old Aug 24, 2023, 1:39 am
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Originally Posted by FabCW
As someone who flies USCITY1>USHUB>XXX>NCE in J three times per year for the past 25 years I hope that the newly added flights from UA and AA will result in more competitive pricing for direct flights between the US and NCE. I would looove a reasonably priced option to connect once instead of twiceyear around.
i would love so too but what has struck me with the new flights is that there are no cheap award seats in front and often no seats in front even for cash. My guess is that if the flights become year round there might be improved offers in J in low season but otherwise, the deals are more likely to be in Y.
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Old Aug 24, 2023, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by TATLTAIL
AF can market both DL flights - and any future ones - under the JV, so as others have said, it makes little to no sense for them to use their own resources for this. Much smarter would be to think about breaking the LH group juggernaught of Central Europe. If NCE could support more long haul, we'd see it from DL, but I suspect it is a bit like other such cities: high tourism volume in the summer, thin commerce traffic year round. LYS is far more financially and commercially active than NCE, in any event.
NCE is far more high-yield traffic than LYS. That is true in the summer (May to September). Also there are a lot of rich foreigners with villas from Monaco to Saint Tropez who fly outside summer months.
There is domestic demand for Lyon, but that is easily accommodated by TGV.
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