Economy Class is a product under a system of perpetual revision by airlines. As the uprising of low cost carriers continues globally, legacy carriers have found a renewed obsession to adjust their cabins towards cost effectiveness and compete against the LCC uprising. But don’t worry – one CAN take a step away from the scrutiny.
That is clear when you look at French carrier La Compagnie, an all-business class airline operating a single route – Paris-New York Newark – with two 74 seat Boeing 757-200s, around half the capacity used in most dual-class 757 arrangements and around a third those seen previously with leisure operators.
Times are changing at the independent carrier as market conditions alter and this will give the carrier even more exclusivity in trans-Atlantic skies. The company has announced plans to relocate its Parisian base from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Paris Orly Airport in summer 2018.
La Compagnie’s decision coincides with the exit of IAG premium subsidiary OpenSkies from Paris Orly at the end of summer 2018, with the carrier and route to the Big Apple to be absorbed by new low cost long haul brand LEVEL. While the move could irk certain business clientele seeking to specifically land at the CDG hub, La Compagnie’s reasoning for the move can be justified… filling a big void left by its main competitor.
TABLE – While LaCompagnie may currently be just the small guy up against Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in the Paris CDG – Newark market, it does have the dominant share of the premium seats on the routeSource: The Blue Swan Daily and OAG (data: w/c 30-Jan-2018)
The Parisian relocation will now mean La Compagnie will have a 100% share of premium seats between Paris Orly and Newark, a route pairing that is already stimulated through the operations by OpenSkies. La Compagnie recorded a 76.3% load factor in 2017, a figure rivalling or even exceeding that in economy class of traditional carriers, but with significantly higher yields.
Being the sole premium brand on the route means La Compagnie could grow its robust load factor even further, albeit LEVEL and Norwegian Air will still provide a low cost alternative on the Paris Orly-Newark sector.
The move also consolidates La Compagnie’s position under the ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ partnership. La Compagnie’s operations would complement both easyJet and partner Corsair at Paris Orly and start to rival the relationship between Transavia France and parent Air France at Orly.
A move to Paris Orly, however, isn’t the only noteworthy change for the carrier. In Sep-2017, two Airbus A321neos were ordered in a 12 year sale and leaseback with GECAS. The two aircraft will operate with either 76 or 80 seats, and are estimated to consume 35% less fuel than the airline’s to-be-replaced 20 year old 757s.