The new route will face tough competition from American Airlines, British Airways, and Condor – can the market sustain another carrier?
If there was any doubt about the health of the transatlantic aviation market, look no further than Phoenix. The city has just announced a new route with Air France, connecting the Arizona state capital with Paris. While air services come and go, to secure a European flag carrier on a new city pairing like this is notable.
Skift has rounded up all the must-know info about the new long-haul link:
When Will Paris-Phoenix Launch?
The first flight will depart on May 23, and operate three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Timings are pretty civilized too – the service leaves Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport at 10:10 am and arrives in Phoenix at 12:10 pm. The return departs the city’s Sky Harbor International Airport at 2:10 pm and touches back down in the French capital at 9:15 am the following morning. Journey times will be around 10-11 hours.
What Sort of Plane Will Operate the Route?
The good news is that Air France is using one of its newer long-haul jets for the Paris to Phoenix link. The airline will typically roster the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is popular for having better cabin pressure to help reduce tiredness and jet lag. To take a virtual tour of the aircraft and check out the cabins have a look here.
What Kind of Seats Can Passengers Expect?
Air France’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has a three-class configuration. This means passengers will have the choice of 30 seats in business class, 21 in premium economy, and 228 in regular economy. Each flight has a capacity of 279 passengers. A seat map of the aircraft is available here.
Is This the Only Nonstop Flight to Europe?
No. Although this marks the first scheduled nonstop service between Arizona and France, the airport already has other European routes. British Airways and American Airlines each have a year-round daily flight linking Phoenix with London Heathrow, using large Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 jets. German leisure carrier Condor is also in the market, albeit only seasonally, with flights to Frankfurt. It will use its new flagship Airbus A330neo for the upcoming summer period.
Will the Flights be Profitable?
When it comes to transatlantic networks, a three-time weekly frequency is relatively modest. This suggests that Air France is taking a cautious approach and will want to see how the new service performs in its inaugural year. With such strong and well-established competition from American and British Airways, expect fares to be attractive to bolster demand.
To boost the chances of success, the French airline is promoting easy onward connections in Phoenix with Delta Air Lines – its major U.S. SkyTeam alliance partner. Although Paris is likely to be a draw in itself, Air France will also be offering additional transit opportunities with Dutch national carrier KLM.
For its part, the airport authority predicts the new route will provide a $30 million annual economic boost to the Phoenix area. It highlights the region’s buoyant economy as being a driver for business and well as leisure traffic.
Where Else is Air France Flying This Summer?
Phoenix will be Air France’s 17th destination in the United States, and its 24th in North America. The city joins Atlanta, Boston, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Montreal, Minneapolis, New York JFK, Newark, Ottawa, Quebec City, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle, Vancouver, and Washington D.C.
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