Reclaiming Business Class clientèle to its medium-haul network is the new goal Air France has set itself, after attacking that of the long haul. On 27th November, at their company headquarters at Roissy (near Paris), the Chairman and CEO presented the new Business Class cabins seats that will be provided on some of its Airbus A319’s and A320’s from next April.
An upmarket move which, however, concerns only flights departing or arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport. The company wishes to offer its Business Class passengers, having connections at Roissy, a similar level of offer to those found on medium and long hauls; all this at investment cost of € 50 million needed to get out of the red.
Frédéric GAGEY, Chief Executive Officer - Air France :
"The medium hauls feeding the Charles de Gaulle hub have been losing money over the last number of years, however we have made good progress during the last three, since this loss has been almost halved. The idea is still, therefore, to ensure that the medium-haul hub traffic will return to equilibrium.”
A total of 7,800 of these new seats, manufactured by the US supplier B/E Aerospace, are to be installed. The leather finished seat reclines 20°, is fitted with an adjustable headrest and weighs only 12 kg (26.5 lbs), two less kilogrammes (4.5 lbs.) than the current one. The weight reduction makes for an estimated total of 1,200 metric tonnes of fuel per year which should be saved by Air France.
Alain-Hervé Bernard, Medium-Haul Executive Vice President CDG - Air France :
"The choice of seating together with its finishes were decided by our customers. They considered that to be seen as an up market move, leather was the best.”
Next spring, there will also be news from the cuisine. A new menu based on the one currently found on long-hauls will be offered to Business Class customers. New flavours with the aim of increased profitability which Air France would also find more to their taste.