MIAMI — In July, pending U.S. approval, new French airline “La Compagnie” (The Company) will start exclusively business class service between New York and Paris. The inaugural flight will take off from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) on July 11 to Newark International Airport (EWR). In February, we reported new Le Bourget-headquartered airline Dreamjet would start this service. This month the name was changed to La Compagnie, Dreamjet will be retained in the French Air Operator Certificate.
Founder Frantz Yvelin intends to “democratize” business class across the Atlantic with very competitive fares offering a “French style and American dependability.” The airline plans to use a Boeing 757-200 fitted with Aviation Partners blended winglets. The seating layout will consist of 74 angled lie-flat seats in a 2×2 configuration. The aircraft will serve four to five weekly flights during the summer departing CDG at 17:50 and arriving in EWR at 20:30. Return flights will depart Newark at 21:45 and arrive in CDG at 11:15. Flight crews will consist of two pilots and three flight attendants fluent in international languages.
The inflight amenities include kits with cosmetic products by Caudalie and a meal service with menus created by Christophe Langree, the Michelin-starred chef of Hotel Matignon in Paris, which serves as the official residence of the Prime Minister of France. Inflight entertainment will consist of complimentary WiFi service, and all seats will have personal Samsung tablets uploaded with an assortment of books, magazines, music, and movies.
Other features of La Compagnie’s French style include a sleek and stylized interior cabin with leather headrests and armrests in the airline’s baby blue color. Additional interior tones muted, from the wood grain of wallboards to the blue-speckled gray carpeting. The cabin crew will be outfitted in stylish signature uniforms designed by the French fashion house Vicomte A, whose colorful ready-to-wear line combines an aristocratic tradition and elegance, as well as French know-how and “art-de-vivre” (art of living).
If the name Frantz Yvelin sounds familiar, he is the founder of L’Avion, which operated business class-only service from Paris Orly Airport to Newark from 2006 to 2009, before being bought out by British Airways to integrate with its OpenSkies subsidiary. The entrepreneurial initiative for La Compagnie was created in October 2013 by Yvelin with assistance from former Swissair and JetAirways CEO Peter Luethi. The fundraising campaign drew nearly 30 million Euros from French and European investors.
La Compagnie plans on offering a three-tiered price structure. Including applicable taxes, fees, and carrier charges, one way fares are broken down as “Best” $750 USD (500.50 euros); “Semi” $1,300 USD (955 euros); and “Flex” $2,132 USD (1,564 euros).
As we reported in February, history could play against La Compagnie, considering the demise of all-business trans-Atlantic ventures like MAXjet, Silverjet, and EOS, which went bankrupt in a six-month stretch between December 2007 and May 2008. Mainline carriers providing service across the pond, like Air France, American, and Delta have recently or are soon planning on also upgrading their business class cabins.