Air France has announced its plans to operate a comparatively busy summer schedule this year, that will see its capacity reach 65% of 2019 levels. This will represent a 25% increase vs the rate of 40% for May 2021. Its busier timetable reflects the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and will serve nearly 200 destinations. Let’s get the lowdown on the schedule.
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many passengers remain understandably wary of the potential for sudden changes to travel restrictions. This may cause them to decide against traveling internationally. Air France, considering this sentiment, built its summer timetable accordingly. Thus, it will see extensive service on its domestic routes.
Overall, the French flag carrier is planning to operate a total of 40 routes within the country during the summer months. A strong proportion of these have a focus on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. The airline will directly serve four destinations on the island: Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvia, and Figari. Direct flights from the French mainland will arrive from Bordeaux, Caen, Lille, Lyon, Paris, Pau, Rennes, Strasbourg and Nantes.
Europe and North Africa
Locations in Europe and North Africa, alongside those served within France, make up 110 of the nearly 200 destinations that Air France plans to serve this summer. The airline strongly believes that it is in a position to offer safe international leisure travel, stating:
“In line with the gradual reopening of French borders and the lifting of certain travel restrictions, Air France teams at the airport and on board are fully mobilized to help customers reunite with their loved ones or reach their holiday destinations.”
The French flag carrier already has a strongly established short and medium-haul network serving destinations across Europe and North Africa. However, it will also receive a boost in these markets by operating 81 seasonal routes. 23 of these will be new to the airline. Greece will see an impressive 80% capacity increase compared to 2019, with Portugal also up by 25%.
Air France will serve Greece and Portugal with more capacity than it did in the summer months of 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Long-haul aircraft exiting storage
In preparation for its busier summer, Air France also announced that it would be bringing 12 long-haul aircraft out of storage. 10 medium-haul aircraft will also return to service. This will give a total operational fleet of 181 aircraft available for the airline this summer.
In terms of where these re-instated long-haul aircraft will fly to, the French Caribbean is a high priority for Air France. Now that travelers between France and its overseas territories no longer have to have an essential reason for their journey, the airline will be supplementing its schedules on these routes. It says these are “essential to ensuring territorial continuity.”
Thanks to the schedule increase, Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will a combined maximum of three flights a day to destinations in the French Caribbean. These will include Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Fort-de-France (Martinique) and Saint-Denis de la Réunion.