AOM FRENCH AIRLINES is expanding its network with new domestic services and a long-haul route to Australia. From 28 October, a service to Montpellier from Paris Orly, will be added to be followed before the end of the year, by a route to Strasbourg. AOM already provides high-frequency services from Orly to Nice and Marseille.

On 2 November, the airline will be re-routing its' twice weekly Paris-Bangkok-Noumea (New Caledonia) service via Sydney, which is being abandoned by Air France. The new route will be Paris-Colombo-Sydney-Noumea, with Air France continuing to serve Bangkok. Long-haul flights to Quito and Lima in South America were added in June.

Closer to home, Aviareps has been appointed as AOM's UK agent which, together with interline agreements with Air Liberte and Air UK, increases accessibility to its 350 flights a week. Although AOM says that it is not planning to take over the Gatwick-Orly service when Air Liberte pulls out, the move could be interpreted as a prelude to starting its own service to feed the long-haul network.

AOM French Airlines, owned 97% by Credit Lyonnais subsidiary Altus Finance, has been the subject of a speculative take-over bid by Air Liberte. The Fr400 million ($80 million) bid has grossly undervalued the loss-making airline, however, say its shareholders. Attempts at a take-over have been rebuffed. An independent audit values the airline at Fr1.2 billion.

AOM expects to break even this year, on anticipated revenues of Fr3.15 billion.

Source: Flight International