Air France to limit summer capacity growth to 0.6%

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Air France is to limit summer capacity growth to 0.6%, excluding its provincial bases, due to what it describes as "the uncertain economic environment".

The SkyTeam carrier said that its capacity in available seat kilometres between 25 March and 28 October 2012 will increase by 0.8% on long-haul and decrease 0.2% on medium-haul routes.

It is increasing capacity to Africa by 4.9%, launching a new route to Port Gentil in Gabon and resuming operations to Abuja in Nigeria. It will also increase capacity to Abidjan in Ivory Coast, Lome in Togo, Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, and N'Djamena in Chad.

Air France will expand its network in South America by 9.7%, partly by increasing frequency to Santiago in Chile to a daily service.

In Asia its 6.3% capacity increase will include the launch of flights to Wuhan in China and the introduction of a night flight from Beijing to Paris. It will also begin operating three of 14 weekly frequencies to Shanghai with Airbus A380s and is adding three weekly frequencies with Boeing 777-200s to Singapore.

The French flag carrier said its services to Japan are returning to pre-crisis levels, while it will reduce capacity to Hong Kong, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

In the Middle East, Air France will significantly reduce its seat capacity by 17.5%. In addition to the suspension of flights to Abu Dhabi, it is adapting capacity to Damascus with four weekly flights operated as an extension of the service to Amman in Jordan instead of five direct flights.

Its parent group, Air France-KLM, will report a "considerable loss" for 2011 of several hundred million euros on 8 March, according to Air France chief executive Alexandre de Juniac.