Air France chief says regional bases to stay despite review

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Air France's regional bases will not be closed when a review of their operations is completed in September despite making unspecified losses says the airline's chief executive.

Speaking at an Air France-KLM annual financial results announcement for 2012 in Paris today, Alexandre de Juniac said the three bases, situated in Marseilles, Nice and Toulouse are being reviewed. "If we have to restructure the regional bases in an important way, we won't close them, he says".

De Juniac says that Air France must do something "reasonable and fair", adding that the base in Marseille has only been open since October 2011, while the other two opened in spring 2012. "Even Ryanair waits 15-17 months to make money on a line," he says.

Air France says in its 2012 annual results statement that 2013 will see "an adaptation of the regional base project" including a reduction in schedules. This is also likely to include cuts in routes and aircraft says Air France-KLM chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta, adding: "It won't be a closure but a recalibration".

When announcing its regional base initiative in 2011 to cut costs and boost its European medium-haul services, Air France said it also intended to open a fourth base in Bordeaux, but this plan has since been shelved.