On the occasion of a press conference held today in Paris Frantz Yvelin, the president of Aigle Azur, had the opportunity to make an initial assessment of his performance as chairman and presented the main strategic guidelines for the second largest French airline.
Frantz Yvelin framed this innovation package with the outlines of the pioneering spirit that has always distinguished Aigle Azur. Founded in 1946, with a strong presence in Asia and Africa since 1950, the expansion of this iconic air brand has been a superlative expression of the evolution in French commercial aviation.
Simultaneously, 2017 opened a new chapter with the arrival of a new shareholder, Mr. David Neeleman, on the occasion, sided by the groups HNA and Lu Azur.
Counting more than 70 years of a strategy punctuated by remarkable milestones, the arrival of Frantz Yvelin, as president - on the 10th of August - laid the groundwork for a renewed momentum. Over these seven months, he was able to operate the company's recovery, reducing operating costs and leveraging productivity, while simultaneously consolidating and garnering the backing of all employees and shareholders. Building on these solid foundations, he is now focused on implementing an ambitious growth strategy.
Expansion of the historical network
Aigle Azur reaffirms and strengthens its position as a leader in air transportation throughout the Mediterranean, staying true to its historic markets: Algeria, Mali and Senegal.
The year 2017 marked the beginning of a significant expansion of the Aigle Azur network: the launch of new routes to Beirut in the summer of 2017, Berlin on the 1st of December and Moscow on the 21st of December.
Aigle Azur also includes a seasonal route between Marseille and Beirut, with two weekly flights (from June to September).
Aigle Azur has designed the restructuring of its European medium-haul network aiming to a better performance of the existing traffic. The company will open a new Orly-Milan daily flight from September 2018*, whereas the route to Berlin will become daily.
The implementation of this new medium-haul strategy will also be followed by an expansion of its long-haul network. Backed by its shareholders, Aigle Azur is set to reach new destinations: June 21st will mark the beginning of a route to Beijing*, which will be provided by the Orly company at the rate of three weekly flights. In addition, on July 5th, Aigle Azur will launch a new Paris-Orly / São Paulo-Campinas* (Brazil) route, with 3 weekly flights, though the same route will be extended up to 5 flights per week, as of September 2018.
These two regular long-haul routes will be vouched throughout the year.
New aircraft, a new image and new products on-board
According to the announced schedule, Aigle Azur is waiting for the delivery of two new Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which will reinforce the existing fleet, around mid-April. After this reinforcement, the Aigle Azur fleet will count 12 Airbus aircraft (x2 A330, x9 A320, x1 A319).
Divided into two classes - Business and Eco - the A330s will be operational on the new long- haul routes: Beijing and São Paulo*. They will also be integrated in the route to Bamako and in the reinforcement of the routes to Porto, Algiers and Oran, during the summertime.
The development of this new long-haul network is one of the pillars of the new strategic plan outlined for Aigle Azur by Frantz Yvelin and, therefore, a priority for its shareholders. For the same reason, the company highlighted this moment with the implementation of a new visual identity, thinking of the future, and in order to be capable of conquering new business opportunities in the confining areas.
This new image will be followed by a deep improvement of the service and product on-board, with the goal of consolidating its position among the best long-haul companies. According to the plan: high-quality standard in all classes, including an executive class with 180° reclining seats (fully horizontal), state-of-the-art on-board VOD-type entertainment system in both classes, different mood light modes and connection to the Internet on-board (as of July).
Growing side by side our strategic top partners
Aigle Azur announces a new agreement with Newrest, an on board catering specialist that will join the company in all its development strategy.
Aigle Azur frames itself through a global rapprochement logic, expressed by its profound wish of consolidating multiple synergies with several French and international air carriers.
Namely – and as the result of common shareholders – the current natural allies are Aigle Azur, Hainan Airlines and Azul Brazilian Airlines, indelible interlocutors and privileged partners. Aigle Azur and Azul wish, above all, to consolidate a long and solid relationship, based on the respective positions of each company. Aigle Azur will assure air routes São Paulo-Campinas, the main hub of Azul in South America. This partnership will consolidate the most complete offer between France and Brazil.
The commercial partnership established with Corsair last November, has had its action range expanded in the beginning of the year, offering further flexibility to our clients to/from Paris- Orly, the common base of operations for both companies: expanded on flight code-sharing agreement between the destinations of the two companies, merged airport boarding areas and respective commercial infrastructures.
Aigle Azur today will also present a commercial and strategic partnership with Air Caraïbes, another extremely important player operating in the Paris-Orly platform. This partnership and this new code-sharing agreement will result in a gradual convergence of the European and Mediterranean networks of Aigle Azur with and Air Caraïbes’ own network.
It should be noted that, in the presence of Mr. Miguel Frasquilho, president of TAP Portugal’s Board of Directors, Frantz Yvelin announced the establishment of an important partnership agreement between the two companies last March 19th, centred on the implementation of a code-sharing agreement in Tap Portugal and Aigle Azur flights between France and Portugal in addition to reinforcing our commercial collaboration, a cooperation protocol on aircraft maintenance, multiple operational synergies between both countries (France and Portugal), as well as call-centre infrastructure fusion in Lisbon.
"This flight represents another milestone in the growth of Viracopos as a major hub of Azul. We are very excited about adding Paris to our ever growing domestic and international network. We will offer fast and convenient connections from all over Brazil to Paris. In addition, including Paris to our portfolio of destinations will be extremely positive for our TudoAzul members as well as our vacations business Azul Viagens", says Abhi Shah, Chief Revenue Officer of Azul.
Frantz Yvelin, president of Aigle Azur, has stated: «Since my arrival, we’ve been working side by side our shareholders and our teams, who I’d like to thank today, for their commitment to this ambitious quest. The unprecedented accomplishments announced today reflect what I have always strived to achieve from the beginning: to ensure that the entrepreneurial culture, that is very dear to me, is part of a path designed over 70 years ago, in the true pioneering spirit of Aigle Azur. Because we respect our commitments to our historic markets, we do not relegate new horizons and new market segments to the background. I’m personally determined to framing Aigle Azur through a global rapprochement logic, with a strong catalytic role, that gives us greater national, regional and international expression. We are a true “home with wings” and we are all fully engaged to this renewed adventure. I feel as proud as I feel happy. Together we inscribe Aigle Azur’s destiny and to it we shall remain faithful.