MIAMI – Transavia France’s (HV) entry into the country’s domestic market forms a key part of Air France-KLM’s strategy to rationalize its short-haul network and improve profitability, according to CEO Ben Smith speaking at the Routes Reconnected conference.

A news release from the event quotes Smith as saying that the group expects its domestic operations in France to return to the black in the near future, reversing a loss of about €200m (US$240m). 

“Transavia has a very similar construction to easyJet. And with the combination of Flying Blue—the Air France-KLM frequent flyer loyalty program—it creates a very powerful offer,” Smith said. “We expect that in the short-term we should be able to turn domestic flying back into profitable territory.”

Photo credit: Air France-KLM

Transavia France Launch

The launch of low-cost unit Transavia France’s inaugural domestic routes earlier this month followed an agreement in August between Air France-KLM’s management team and pilots’ union SNPL. The union backed an overhaul of Air France’s domestic network.

Transavia France is taking over all routes operated by Air France and regional subsidiary HOP! from Paris Orly (ORY), while Air France and HOP! will continue to serve domestic routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).

Air France will also operate shuttle flights to Toulouse (TLS), Nice (NCE) and Marseille (MRS) from ORY, as well as services to Corsica.

Transavia France’s first domestic route started on November. 2, connecting ORY with Biarritz (BIQ) 19X-weekly. Four routes from Nantes (NTE) have also joined its network, connecting the city in the Upper Brittany region with MRS 10X-weekly, TLS 10X-weekly, Montpellier (MPL) 5X-weekly and NCE 4X-weekly.

Photo: Max Langley/Airways

Future Expansion

Looking ahead, Smith said that once HV is operating profitably, the group would look to expand the airline’s network from secondary airports in France to European destinations, as well as adding more international services from ORY.

Smith added that more aircraft would be needed over the medium-term. The airline is evaluating both the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo.

Featured image: Casey Groulx/Airways

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