Air France/KLM to Resume Service to Iran in April
Photo courtesy of Air France
Air France/KLM has struggled since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. The airline recently announced that it has lost $54 million in revenue after numerous cancellations and sluggish sales over the past month.
The French national carrier launched its first flight in 1933. Its partner, KLM, took to the skies in 1919. The airline has survived plenty of adversity in the past, so there is no reason for it to panic just yet. In fact, the company is not only looking to recover, but to expand in the coming year.
New plans for 2016
Air France is already looking to the future; it recently announced two new routes for its 2016 schedule. The first illustrates the hope for a quick recovery from the current slump. Daily service from New York JFK to Paris-Orly will start in June. Paris to New York service is hardly a new thing for Air France/KLM. There are currently four daily flights from the Big Apple to de Gaulle. However, this will be the first route from New York's busiest airport to Orly.
Advantages of choosing Orly instead of de Gaulle
The Orly route will offer a couple of advantages. First of all, the secondary airport is not as crowded or chaotic as Charles de Gaulle. Passengers will often find it easier to negotiate Orly than to try to make it through the notorious Parisian peer.
Secondly, Orly has a high number of domestic routes. For those who are traveling elsewhere in France, it is actually a better choice as far as domestic connections. This new service is a joint venture with Delta. Both carriers are a part of the SkyTeam Alliance. Along with Italy’s flag carrier, Alitalia, they make up a huge transatlantic cartel with more than 250 flights per day.
Back to Tehran after an eight year absence
Air France also announced service between Paris-de Gaulle and Tehran, Iran. Flights will take off three times per week (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) starting in April 2016. Iran is set to become an important trading partner for the EU in general after sanctions were lifted following an agreement with the IAEA about oversight of Iran’s nuclear program.
Air France actually has a long history of service to Tehran. The airline first connected Paris with the Persian capital in 1946. The lengthy route was indicative of air travel in the pre-jet age. The flight was only offered once every two weeks, it was hardly straightforward: Paris – Marseilles – Tunis – Benghazi - Cairo – Beirut – Baghdad - Tehran. Direct flights from Paris were suspended in 2008 because of a lack of demand due, at least in part, to the economic sanctions placed on Iran. Amsterdam-Tehran service was halted in 2013. However, Iran Airlines currently flies to both Paris-Orly and Amsterdam-Schiphol.
Air France CEO Frédéric Gagey has said that the new plans show that Air France remains ambitious despite its recent setbacks. "With these new route launches, Air France is showing that it is ready to seize all possible profitable development and growth opportunities.”
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