Transavia France plans 12 May operational launch

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Air France-KLM Group’s new French medium-haul leisure carrier Transavia will begin operations on 12 May with an initial link between Paris Orly and Porto in Portugal.

Transavia France is 60% Air France-owned, with the remainder belonging to KLM’s Dutch subsidiary Transavia. The new carrier is modelled on its Dutch parent and has been established to serve the French holiday market.

Porto was revealed as Transavia France’s first destination during a press conference in Paris today. The airline will begin services on 12 May, offering twice-daily services on the route.

An initial Boeing 737-800 will be used to launch the Porto link, with a further three of the type slated for arrival during the summer season. Transavia France is prioritising Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Greece and Spain for its early network development.

This summer a further three 737-800s, configured in a 186-seat, all-economy layout, will join Transavia France’s fleet. The airline is planning to add three more of the type in 2008 and another two in 2009.

Transavia France’s air operator’s certificate (AOC) application is being processed by the French CAA (DGAC), having been approved by French financial monitor CSAM on 14 February.

The new airline, which will employ around 165 staff by July, is headed by Lionel Guerin, the chairman and CEO of French regional carrier Airlinair.

Transavia in the Netherlands employs around 1,550 staff and operates a fleet of 31 Boeing 737s, serving more than 80 destinations. Last year it carried 4.8 million passengers, generating a €468 million ($623 million) turnover.