Air France to launch regional operator and semi-lowcost HOP!
The economic crisis, the increase in fuel costs, the strong competition from the low-cost operators, all of these give big headaches to the full-service state carriers. The Air France & KLM group is also in a similar situation. The French carrier has announced that it will make redundancies in the next two years and looking for solutions to reach the plus.
One of the solutions has been announced today. Air France will launch regional and semi-lowcost operator HOP !, which will integrate regional airlines Brit Air, Regional and Airlinair. The Air France group will be divided between: the operator Air France (full-service, long and very long routes), Transavia France (low-cost, charters, medium routes) and HOP! (semi-lowcost, short and medium routes). This action is part of the "Transform 2015" program, a recovery project that will run for 3 years.
HOP! It will start operating on 31 March 2013, the date when it will move to the summer program. Will operate 530 daily flights to 136 from destinations in France and Europe. The flights will be honored with small aircraft, with capacities between 50 and 100 seats. The fleet will consist of 98 aircraft, and ATRs, Airbus A319, Bombardier CRJ900 will likely be used as models.
HOP! will operate domestic flights from Paris Orly airport and European flights from the Paris Charles de Gaulle terminal in cooperation with Air France.
I said about HOP! that will be semi-lowcost, which means that the operator will practice low prices, starting from 55 EUR per segment, but will also offer certain facilities to passengers. It will practice a policy similar to that found at Fly Niki and Germanwings. It is a policy I also encourage for TAROM. Read my article in ANAT magazine - TAROM, Flaps Up!
A low-cost division can save a lot of money. On short routes there is no need for a catering service on board and even luggage on the hold. Small aircraft may be operated differently from those in a full-service company, including the policy of technical overhauls.
I wouldn't be surprised to see HOP aircraft! and Henri Coanda International Airport, operating flights to different destinations in France.