Air France said on Wednesday that the continuing popularity of Zoom meetings and a growing reliance on high-speed train travel was behind a decision to shift its domestic flights from Paris-Orly Airport to the airline’s main hub at Paris Charles De Gaulle.
The airline intends to move all of its domestic point-to-point routes to Charles De Gaulle Airport by 2026, along with flights to the French Overseas Territories. The low-cost Transavia subsidiary will, however, continue to be based out of Orly.
The domestic flights that will move to Charles De Gaulle include Toulouse, Marseille and Nice, and the flights to the French Overseas Territories that will affected include Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France and Saint-Denis de La Réunion.
Once the full transition takes place in 2026, the only presence for the mainline Air France brand at Orly will be on services to Corsica, which are operated under a Public Service Order and which the airline is tied into maintaining.
Air France says it intends to cut capacity on domestic routes by 10% following the transition, although capacity on flights to the French Overseas Territories will remain unchanged.
“The rise of videoconferencing, the drop in domestic business travel and the growing shift toward rail are leading to a structural fall in demand on Air France’s domestic point-to-point network,” the airline said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Between 2019 and 2023, traffic on domestic routes out of Paris-Orly fell by 40%, and even by 60% for day return trips.”
Earlier this year, the French government issued a decree banning domestic flights on routes that could, instead, be taken by high-speed train. The law had been watered down to the extent that the only routes affected were from Paris Orly to Nantes, Bordeaux, and Lyon.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.