The fall of the dominoesBack to Forum
The title of this topic might not be the best but it does illustrate what has been happening to airlines in the last few years………and could happen to more.
I am surprised that Business Traveller has not made any comment so far on the failure of France´s second airline, Aigle Azur.
For this airline the last few weeks have been quite frantic with changes of CEO, accusations of coups (though this seems to be the latest tendency in Western Europe). Aigle Azur is/was an airline whose principal market was from France to Algeria, but also with long haul flights to Brazil, Africa and China (reflecting the 49% shareholding of the HNA group). It was reported that Vueling has been in talks to take over the routes to 4 cities in Portugal and accepted an offer of €20 million – I have not seen any reports saying that this is a done deal.
The reports I have seen are as follows……………….
“As from tomorrow evening – 6 September – Aigle Azur will suspend its operations,” (Aviation24.be 5-9-19)
“Aigle Azur To Suspend Flight Operations,” (Simple Flying 6-9-19)
“Air France May Play a Part Rescuing Country’s No. 2 Airline,” (Skift 6-9-19)
…………………It is reported that Air France, French Bee/Air Caraibes, and IAG are all interested in assets of the bankrupt airline – especially the slots. Each will have its own agenda so it will be interesting to see what develops.7 Sep 2019
Surely with 20 destinations and 11 aircraft Aigle Azur is not France’s second airline ?
At a quick glance Transavia looks to be four times the size of Aigle Azur although it is part owned by Air France it is not Air France.
French companies own Air Caraïbes and Air Corsica who also look to be larger.
Probably no mention in BT because it is a small French airline that is not on the radar of most of the readership.8 Sep 2019
The limit for bids for the assets of Aigle Azur was yesterday (9-9-19)at midday. According to the following reports the French government wants to save the airline´s jobs thus Air France´s interest in bidding. I suspect that as the Algerian routes were the backbone of the airline´s operations then there would be a considerable interest in obtaining that business for Air France. Now that Easyjet has joined the fray I think that it might also be interested in the Algerian business. The same goes for IAG (Vueling). The speculation in the articles is that the main interest is for the slots which the airline has at Orly. That I suspect is only part of the reasoning because for both Easyjet and Vueling Algeria would be a new market which could then be extended to the rest of Europe. Whatever the main interest undoubtedly there would be rationalisation of the operations and new slots would appear after some reductions in flights.
“EasyJet ‘among bidders’ for collapsed French carrier”. (Travel Weekly 10-9-19)
“easyJet is interested in Aigle Azur’s Paris Operations”. (Simple Flying 9-9-19)
—https://simpleflying.com/easyjet-aigle-azur-interest/10 Sep 2019
It is reported that up to 14 interested parties have presented offers for Aigle Azur´s assets. Most of them are listed in these two articles.
Interested parties have until today to improve their offers.The final decision, by the French government on who takes what will be made next Monday. The French government has stipulated that its decision “it will come out in favour of the best offers for jobs”.
“Air France, easyJet, and others interested in Aigle Azur” (Ch-Aviation 11-9-19)
“14 offers to take over Aigle Azur”, (Aviation24.be 9-9-19)11 Sep 2019
“Aigle Azur liquidation leaves time for competing rescue bids”, (ch-aviation 17-9-19)17 Sep 2019
Tonight’s latest news [FR].
Another French airline, XL Airways, has ceased all ticket sales because of “great financial difficulties” it is reported.19 Sep 2019
Thomas Cook teetering on brink of administration, needing to secure extra funding to see company through winter season. Presume this includes TC Scandinavia nad Condor.
If it happens, will be biggest repatriation of UK travellers since the collapse of Monarch two years ago. A few days ago, BALPA were encouraging us to book flights/holidays with TC to help safeguard jobs.19 Sep 2019
XL Airways has an interesting network of flights to the USA and various points in the Caribbean plus Reunion from five airports in France. What it does not have are take off/landing slots at Paris Orly as it flies from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle. For this reason the airline is less interesting for some competitors than e.g. Aigle Azur which has the scarce Orly slots. However, to take XL over it would mean one fewer competitor on frequently flown routes thus benefiting everybody.20 Sep 2019
“Government urged to prevent banks from pushing Thomas Cook over the edge”, (Travel Weekly 20-9-19)
This article is based on the fact that both Lloyds Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland are owned, at least in part, by the government. The cost of repatriation of the holidaymakers is estimated at GBP600- while these two banks are demanding the immediate provision of an extra GBP200- to save the company. It should be a “no-brainer”, but understanding the banks makes it complete madness.20 Sep 2019
“easyJet and Air France Withdraw Interest In Aigle Azur”, (Simple Flying 20-9-19)
The impression given now is that the competition is not interested in rescuing any of the stricken airlines. They just want to let them die then pick up the pieces that interest them. That may well be cheaper and less complicated for them but certainly is very cynical.20 Sep 2019