Air France has consolidated its hold on the French domestic and international markets, with passengers boarded up by 10.6% last year, compared with 1998, to 37.05 million.

Statistics released for the first time by the French civil aviation authority the DGAC show the number of passengers carried by French airlines grew 9%, to 94.4 million.

Air Liberté, the country's number two and in which Air France seeks a major stake, recorded growth of 4.8%, to 4.18 million, while AOM, 49% owned by the SAirGroup (also in the hunt for Air Liberté), saw boardings increase by just 0.5% to 3.53 million.

Air France's regional franchise partners piled on passengers, with Brit Air, Regional Airlines and Proteus/Flandre Air all improving their totals by a quarter or more.

Air France has improved market share on European routes by 1.7 points, to 39.9%, and on long-haul routes by 1.2 points, to 41.2%. The carrier's share of traffic to Asia and Africa was slightly down, however, to 44% and 38.5%, respectively.

Source: Flight International