Air France-KLM aiming to grow Transavia into low-cost leader

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Transavia is to be expanded beyond its core markets of France and the Netherlands to make it one of Europe’s main low-cost carriers, says Alexandre de Juniac, chief executive of parent Air France-KLM.

Under the group’s five-year Perform 2020 plan, the expansion of Dutch-based leisure unit Transavia Airlines and its French sister company Transavia France is to be accelerated so that the airlines can spearhead a fightback against low-cost rivals.

“The idea is to develop Transavia on a European basis so that in a few years’ time Transavia will be among the leaders of European low-cost. The reason for this is the leisure market is growing very strongly,” says de Juniac.

Under the new strategic programme, Transavia’s fleet will be expanded from 16 owned aircraft in 2014 to 26 by 2016, and new markets will be targeted across Europe.

The Dutch airline is moving away from its charter business to scheduled operations. What was a 70:30 split in charter to scheduled operations has become a 50:50, says de Juniac.

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From its base at Paris Orly, Transavia France will be a “key component” in the group’s short and medium-haul business while Hop! and Air France concentrate on the domestic and long-haul markets, says de Juniac.

“For Transavia we are pushing hard for repositioning, in particular developing Transavia France by increasing the fleet and opening up 19 new destinations, and repositioning us in particular on the Dutch side from a model that was essentially charter- and tour operator-dominated to a more normal B-to-C base,” says de Juniac.

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Source: Air France-KLM

Transavia France is to seek out new routes that include sun and city-break locations not necessarily served previously by Air France.

De Juniac says another crucial element in the new strategy is ensuring that Transavia has superior levels of service to those of low-cost competitors by imparting Air France-KLM expertise in customer service and the handling of flight delays and cancellations, and by introducing add-ons such as Air France’s Flying Blue frequent-flyer programme.

“There is the possibility of Transavia passengers using their Flying Blue [points] in order to fly with Transavia, and the sales and distribution [network] of Air France and KLM is being made available to Transavia in particular, with efficient links on the website and also good tools for handling disruption which exist for Air France-KLM,” says de Juniac.