AF-KLM to launch new airline to compete with Gulf carriers

Europe-Asia will be the initial focus of the airline when its launched in the winter of 2017 from its Paris CDG base.

Air France-KLM Boost Emirates Airline Gulf carriers Qatar Airways Trust Together

Air France-KLM has announced a new ‘Trust Together’ nine-point strategy to “return to a leadership position in our markets,” which includes a new Air France airline called ‘Boost’, aimed at long-haul markets, according to chairman and CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac

To be launched in the winter of 2017 and based at Paris CDG, it will have a fleet of 10 long-haul aircraft by 2020 with a specific focus to compete with Gulf airlines that are expanding into “key markets where Air France-KLM is pursuing its growth ambition”.

Jean-Marc Janaillac Jean-Marc Janaillac

The airline said Asia will be the initial focus before possibly expanding to transatlantic flights to the US. Air France-KLM is looking to claw back market share lost on lucrative Europe-Asia routes since the emergence of Gulf carriers such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Boost will focus some of the group’s currently least profitable routes including new routes, the re-opening of old routes and maintaining current routes under threat. Air France said the new airline will not be positioned as low-cost carrier but rather, “serve as a laboratory in terms of products, digital and technology, catering, cabin design, services and the customer experience, as well as for working methods”.

The group aims to realise annual revenue of €28 billion by 2020, as a result of its new programe, but Air France-KLM said it would continue to lobby the European Commission for “equitable competition” with low-cost and Gulf carriers.