Air France to upgrade all Indian flights in summer 2024

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    This news has yet to be revealed by Air France here in the UK or even by its FR twitter feed.

    But today there was a presentation at the French Embassy in Delhi where Air France revealed that flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru would be operated by the A350 in summer 2024.

    Delhi and Mumbai would get the A350 from April 1.

    Bengaluru will see the A350 from July 22.

    Good news for our readers taking AF to India this summer … bearing in mind Air France carries sixth-freedom passengers via its CDG hub. Lots will continue beyond CDG to elsewhere in Europe and North America.


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    Apologies if this is a stupid question, but are there many instances of airlines not holding 6th Freedom Rights?


    superchris
    Participant

    <Sixth Freedom – The right to carry passengers or cargo between two foreign countries via one’s own country without a change of aircraft. This freedom facilitates connecting flights between two foreign destinations through the airline’s home country.>

    So effectively they are flying a plane from say Toronto to Paris, and same aircraft is travelling on to India offering the passengers the opportunity to stay on the aircraft rather than get off and go back through security.

    If this is indeed what AF are doing then I would say this is fairly unusual?

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    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    @superchris – thank you for the clarification, I wasn’t aware that 6th Freedom referred to the need to utilise the same aircraft.

    That being the case then, yes, you are right about 6th Freedom rights being unusual. However, I’m not sure the AF part applies as the vast majority of their traffic (certainly from Europe) would utilise one aircraft from Heathrow etc to Paris and then another aircraft (the new A350) from Paris to points in India?


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Hello superchris

    I am not sure from where you obtained that info re sixth-freedom but it is not entirely correct.

    Officially there are five freedoms of the air and these were drawn up by ICAO in Chicago in 1944. I have reported this for both the magazine and Forum many times.

    But then in subsequent years some canny airlines devised a “sixth freedom” which is a combination of third and fourth freedom rights.

    It allowed these canny airlines to cash-in on traffic which officially belonged to the national airlines at each end of the route.

    So we see Emirates carrying a traveller London-Dubai-Singapore whereas officially that passenger would be using BA or SIA.

    Therefore sixth freedom traffic is the carrying of a passenger between two international points by the airline of a third but *via* its home country*.

    In the case of AF as I mentioned it would be AF’s flight from India to Paris CDG which feeds the AF international network.

    That is why sixth freedom flights *must* carry two separate flight numbers (because sixth freedom traffic is not officially recognised by the regulators).

    So a traveller taking SIA’s A380 LHR-SYD via SIN *might* find the same A380 being deployed all the way to Sydney but when the flight reaches Singapore he or she must disembark and then the continuing flight to Sydney will carry a new flight number.

    The itinerary must show two flight sectors. At check-in a sixth freedom passenger would present both ticket sectors and would then be checked right through.

    Here’s the official ICAO info on the freedoms. Note that only the first five freedoms are official.

    https://www.icao.int/pages/freedomsair.aspx

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    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    @superchris – would I be right in thinking that you did a Google search and came across the (incorrect) Flight Radar24 description? Odd that Google has it as its top result when it is wrong!

    So, in short, 6th Freedom Rights are just connecting international flights.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    BackOfThePlane

    Sixth freedom is the carrying of passengers between two international points by the (same) airline of a third (country) via its home nation.

    Back in 1944 when the freedoms were devised there would be one international airline per nation. (Even for the US as Pan Am was the recognised flag carrier in 1944) So I do believe it would have to be the same carrier throughout.

    For example, with AF it would be Mumbai-Paris-Manchester.

    Or with LH it would be Amsterdam-Frankfurt-Singapore.

    Where it would not be classified as sixth freedom is where airlines are mixed.

    For example, London-Singapore with Qantas connecting with SIA to Cairns.

    Matters get somewhat complicated with code-shares.

    For example, Qatar Airways (QR) and China Southern (CZ) will code-share from April 22 (see Online news dated February 29)

    But I still believe (please correct me if I am mistaken) that a flight LHR-DOH with Qatar Airways connecting with DOH-CAN operated by China Southern by bearing a QR/CZ code is still six freedom.

    Aviation is complex !

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    superchris
    Participant

    @backoftheplane Im guilty as charged! Not odd at all that google searches are wrong!


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    I’m just surprised that Flight Radar24 are wrong!


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I am surprised Flightradar24 never spotted the error and has bothered to correct it.

    Really sixth freedom was devised by a number of canny airlines who simply doubled the third freedom.

    I mean KLM and Swissair were probably (at that time) the first in Europe to market sixth freedom traffic but in the days before liberalisation they rarely mentioned the word “six freedom” because the regulators dislike this traffic (and let’s face it it is the regulators who grant traffic rihgts).

    What KLM and Swissair did in Europe was later copied by many others around the world including SIA, Thai, Cathay Pacific and the Gulfies.

    The losers are those carriers located at an ‘end’ destination. Examples are SAA, QF, Air NZ and some of the Latin American carriers.

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