Air France has accepted it must no longer compete with the TGV on short routes.

As a result there will be changes to its domestic and regional network between now and 2023.

The carrier hopes these changes will restore its domestic routes to profitability.

Low-cost carrier Transavia (part of the Air France/KLM Group) and subsidiary Hop! (which also has lower costs) will increasingly take over some of the carrier’s domestic and regional routes.

Domestic routes in Europe are a “challenge” for all national airlines (because of the latter’s high operating costs) consultant John Strickland told us a while ago.

Crucially Air France has signed an agreement with pilots’ union SNPL to allow these changes to happen.

In short it means that Paris Orly will lose its domestic routes when there is a rail alternative taking less than two hours 30 minutes.

Routes which Air France will not abandon at Paris Orly are the important La Navette (shuttle) services linking the capital to Toulouse, Nice and Marseilles.

If there are any changes regarding Paris CDG schedules they will be minor.

Air France, like partner KLM, is a sixth-freedom carrier. In addition to international ‘feed’ it also needs domestic ‘feed’ into Paris CDG to fuel its long-haul network. (Air France operates very few if any long-haul services from the French domestic regions).

Says CEO Anne Rigali, “Air France’s domestic market is one of our Group’s strategic assets”.

“Connecting them [the domestic regions] to the rest of the world is integral to our business.”