THE GALLERY – Lower than three years after the entry into the A350-900 fleet, Air Caraïbes started this Friday business operation of the A350-1000, a bigger capability model (429 seats). What does this plane deliver to the corporate?
MARC ROCHET – This extraordinarily latest plane is the technological flagship of Airbus and we’re proud to have been the primary in France to order it. We have now been working the A350 in its 900 model for nearly three years. We have now three copies now. Immediately, the primary of the 4 A350-1000s that we now have firmly ordered is getting into service. It’s an plane which could be very environment friendly economically because it consumes 25% lower than the plane of the earlier technology, and which supplies improved consolation for our prospects. The airplane is silent, it may well fly at the next altitude the place the disturbances are much less, the cabin pressurization is improved with a felt altitude of 1,700 meters as an alternative of two,000 meters for older technology plane … passengers have no idea how you can measure all these advantages, however we see, by way of reservations, that they respect this machine. As quickly as we place an A350 on a line, the shopper impact is nearly rapid. Between Paris and the West Indies, for instance, there have been buyer actions from the A330s to the A350s.
What’s the continuation of the fleet plan for Air Caraïbes and French Bee?
Air Caraïbes will obtain a second A350-1000 in a 12 months. The thought is to have the primary two copies to make sure a day by day flight each between Paris and Fort-de-France and between Paris and Pointe-à-Pitre. Three A350-900s will help this program on the coronary heart of our community, specifically Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre and Cayenne. We even have 4 A330-300 that are fairly positioned on the big islands positioned north of the Antilles, such because the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo, Cuba, Port-au-Prince, and two A330-200. The primary A330-200 permits us to make sure continuous flights between Paris and Saint-Martin, insofar as, not like the A330-300 or the A350, the plane is licensed to take off at full load of Saint-Martin. The second belonged to Aigle Azur. After its disappearance at the end of September, we purchased it to exchange XL Airways flights (who has almost disappeared at the same time, Editor's notice) within the Antilles which had 7 to eight% market share. With this fleet, Air Caraïbes will enhance its seating capability by round 20% in 2020. Lastly, French Bee presently operates three A350-900s and a fourth shall be delivered subsequent 12 months to launch the road in June Orly-New York. By 2021, two extra A350-1000s shall be delivered. We’ll place them on Reunion. In whole, within the subsequent two years, the Dubreuil group will nonetheless obtain three A350-1000 and one A350-900.
How does this progress translate when it comes to jobs?
It permits us to put money into individuals. 15 years in the past, Air Caraïbes had 400 workers. Immediately we now have over 1,100 workers. Our progress creates jobs. An airplane is extra workers, seafarers, floor brokers, upkeep … The arrival of an A350-1000 will permit 120 recruitments. We’ll attain a milestone in 2020, since we’ll in all probability be dedicated in the beginning of subsequent 12 months within the creation of an aeronautical coaching heart in Guadeloupe alongside the Area. We’re planning to launch a PNC coaching heart and an ATR simulator.
What is going to your progress plan be after 2021?
We’re engaged on our fleet plan in 2022 and 2023. We’ll in all probability make selections in 2020. We don’t need to achieve weight with the intention to achieve weight. We need to get larger to be extra environment friendly. If progress permits us to be worthwhile, we’ll do it.
Will this plan be as bold as that introduced in 2013 when ordering the A350s?
We’re fairly a continuation. We have now two choices: both we help progress steadily, or we exchange extra A330s with A350s. Along with serving Saint-Martin, the A330s, most of which belong to us, have the benefit of being nearly amortized. Subsequently, in the event that they solely fly four,000 to four,500 hours a 12 months, this isn’t an issue. This permits us to make use of them on roads on which visitors doesn’t permit us to fly year-round. However, to make substantial cash, a brand new A350 should fly 5,500 hours per 12 months.
Within the coming years, can the distribution of roles between Air Caraïbes and French Bee change?
Once we created French Bee in 2016, we made a dedication to workers that Air Caraïbes served the Caribbean arc and French Bee locations outdoors of this space. Air Caraïbes is already highly effective and really worthwhile. When requested if Air Caraïbes ought to proceed to develop, the reply is sure. We’ll proceed to develop as a result of it’s needed and since prospects demand it. In Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Guyana, we now have the chance to develop. When an A350-1000 can fly 40 passengers and 6 tonnes of cargo greater than an A350-900, it's one method to develop. The opposite means is to extend the community. If there is a chance to open a highway within the Caribbean arc, we’ll. There are factors on this space which might be below fixed surveillance.
The Dubreuil group was one of many main beneficiaries of the reallocation of takeoff and touchdown time slots from Aigle Azur to Orly. What progress do these niches permit to soak up?
Immediately, our area of interest portfolio permits us to cowl the arrival of all of the A350-1000 ordered, that of Air Caraïbes which can arrive in a 12 months, and each of French Bee. The horizon is stabilized for 2020 and 2021. For 2022 and 2023, we’re assured sufficient to seek out options. If swimming pools of accessible slots as massive as that of Aigle Azur solely arrive each 15-20 years, we notice that there are, traditionally, small distributions each two or three years. Both as a result of the regional growth strains are usually not sturdy sufficient and cease being served, or as a result of an organization prefers to go to Roissy …
What does this redistribution encourage in you?
It was made in compliance with European laws. I discover that Cohor, the supervisor of slots in France, has accomplished a superb job. I say this all of the extra since our opponents have additionally obtained slots, akin to Corsair or Air France. What additionally satisfies me is that by being respectful of the European regulation which could be very technical and really pointed, the slots had been largely allotted to the businesses which function massive planes and / or which have bases of exploitation in Orly. That is good for Orly airport as a result of it’s what permits financial growth. It is usually in step with all of the work in progress to develop Orly akin to the development of metro line 18, the extension of metro line 14, or the development of a TGV station on the airport web site. All that may make no sense if we couldn’t make journey extra passengers from Orly.
What do you consider the Orly cap at 250,000 actions per 12 months?
My place on the Orly cap is understood. Orly is likely one of the most stunning airport platforms in Europe however is totally underused for political causes that are questionable to say the least.
What influence did the chapter of XL Airways on the finish of September and the strike towards the pension reform have on Air Caraïbes?
Admittedly, we’re promoting fewer tickets for the time being, however 2019 shall be a superb 12 months for each Air Caraïbes and French Bee. These good outcomes are as a consequence of our efficiency and I salute the efforts of the workers. However, it’s clear that the cease of XL Airways allowed French Bee to be just a little stronger on Reunion and Air Caraïbes to be just a little extra additionally on the Antilles. When XL Airways disappeared, we shortly purchased an extra airplane to occupy the area. Different firms haven’t had this reactivity.
Are different French firms threatened?
There are usually not many left. Every his future. I don’t want firms to be threatened. It’s the accountability of their leaders, together with these of the biggest, and their workers, to have the ability to present that their firms are there to outlive and develop. Then it can occur what is going to occur. I’m a liberal and satisfied of the advantages of competitors. It provides prospects selection and is a supply of motivation and obligation of inner success.
For the previous two years, Air Caribbean's income have remained excessive however have however been declining. Is it worrying?
It's a bit like wine. There are good and never so good vintages. The variations in oil costs and the euro-dollar parity clarify why a classic may be good or rather less. The years 2015 and 2016 had been very large years. The outcomes for the following two years, which had been marked by heavy investments, had been worthwhile however barely decrease. The 2019 accounts are usually not but finalized and shall be revealed in March, however I can already say that the 2019 outcomes shall be larger than these of 2018.
Are acquisitions or main alliances envisaged?
We don’t rule out any speculation. We tried to do exterior progress with Corsair in 2015. It couldn't be accomplished, and we created French Bee. We’re going to do natural progress. If a possibility for exterior progress arises, we’ll have a look at it, however we’ll accomplish that with nice warning. There are usually not many firms left to purchase in France. And I don't suppose we now have the tradition and the means to make an acquisition elsewhere in Europe. However, we’re going to develop technical and business agreements with different firms like French Bee is doing it on the American market with Alaska Airways.
Does your settlement with Air Belgium fall into this class?
No, the scope of this settlement is simply too restricted. Air Belgium serves the West Indies from Charleroi airport and transports Belgian prospects who’re tough to achieve from Orly. Belgian vacationers or individuals from the North will fairly take the airplane to Belgium or Roissy. Air Belgium requested us for agreements between Fort-de-France and Pointe-à-Pitre. We accepted as a result of we now have an curiosity in seeing the general visitors enhance within the Antilles.
French Bee, which serves San Francisco and can open New York in June, does it intend to develop in North America?
The group's nice ambition is to reach New York and we’ll give ourselves the means. After? We have now about fifteen routes that we continuously monitor, in North America, in South America … and we frequently shuffle the playing cards as a result of the service of those routes can change in a short time. Aigle Azur, for instance, has created a visitors movement to Brazil. We glance.
Can Air Caraïbes and French Bee be bought?
I can’t converse patrimonially on behalf of Jean-Paul Dubreuil and his kids, however it’s not within the playing cards. The group prefers to finance its progress itself and to be in command of its future.
What do you consider the evolution of Air France because the change of administration?
We’re carefully monitoring what Air France is doing. There are locations the place they do a superb job. We now take into account that we now have the means to compete with Air France. Our product is sweet. Within the West Indies for instance, we now have essentially the most environment friendly planes and essentially the most trendy wifi. Reverse, Air France provides B 777-300 ERs, planes which might be already 10 years outdated, with cabins which might be going to be refitted. Could the most effective win!
With the elevated consciousness of the local weather emergency, do you discover a reluctance of consumers to fly?
No, we don’t really feel a adverse influence. The Antilles stay markets which present progress of four to five% per 12 months. This doesn’t imply that nothing needs to be accomplished. Fairly the opposite. Our accountability for the environmental downside is gigantic. We partially reply to this by hiring increasingly more environment friendly plane.