Air France says it aims to launch its new subsidiary carrier this autumn, following the presentation of a draft agreement to pilot unions.

The carrier announced plans for the ‘Boost’ project in November last year, which aims to “resume the long-haul offensive and defend the feeder network at its Paris Charles de Gaulle hub, with lower costs”.

Subject to agreement with the unions, Air France plans to launch its first medium-haul flights under the subsidiary carrier this autumn, using A320 family aircraft.

This would be followed by long-haul services from summer 2018, initially using A340 aircraft, and then A350s from 2019.

Specific routes have yet to be confirmed, but the carrier previously said that it would focus on “ultra-competitive markets”, with the aim of “opening new routes, re-opening routes closed due to their lack of profitability and maintaining routes under threat”.

Air France is aiming to respond to threat posed by the major Gulf carriers which it said “are developing at low production costs on key markets where Air France-KLM is pursuing its growth ambition”.

Under the draft agreement the new company will be owned by Air France “and may not be sold”, with flights being operated by Air France pilots, with “Air France rules of use and pay”, meaning that “the contribution to Boost’s ‘pilot’ cost savings will be shared by the entire pilot population”.

The agreement also states that the subsidiary’s fleet will not exceed 18 medium-haul and ten long-haul aircraft.

Air France aims to finalise the new agreement by the end of February.