Air France-KLM will grow the fleet of its low-cost subsidiary Transavia in order to take over flights operated by its parent carriers on "highly competitive routes".

In addition, an enlarged Transavia will offer flights to destinations not previously served by the group's airlines, according to group chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

Speaking at a Paris briefing on its half-year results, Spinetta tells Flightglobal the combined fleet of the Dutch and French arms of Transavia will increase to around sixty aircraft in the next few years, with aircraft transferred from elsewhere in the group.

As a budget carrier its lower operating costs compared with the group's mainline carriers Air France and KLM, will allow it to fly to new destinations that have never been served by its parent airlines and replace their services on "highly competitive routes where the group is losing too much, like to Marrakech".

Transavia France will grow by 14 aircraft, up from its current fleet of eight Boeing 737s, says Spinetta. He hopes pilots will be willing to move to the expanded operation, which will partly help to address Air France's overstaffing issues.

Pilots have been offered incentives equivalent to five to six months of salary, up to €60,000 ($74,160), to transfer to the subsidiary.

Spinetta says the payment is to offset a shortfall in salary. He estimates Transavia will need between 12 and 15 pilots for each new aircraft.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news