France’s first all-business class carrier took to the skies earlier this month.L’Avion is operating a B757 five times a week between Paris Orly (located 14km south-west of the capital) and New York Newark.
Like the US all-business class carriers such as Maxjet and Eos (which operate New York flights from London Stansted), L’Avion is fitting far fewer seats than normal.
Typically a B757 will hold as many as 220 passengers in an all-economy class layout. But the plane used by L’Avion accommodates only 90 seats, which are disposed four across (2-2) with a 140-degree angle of recline.
The outward flight departs Paris Orly at 1400 and reaches Newark at 1645. The inbound overnight service leaves Newark at 1930 and arrives in Orly at 0850.Return tickets typically cost US$1,269 (GBP655).
This is the first service of its type from France, although elsewhere in mainland Europe there are all-business class New York flights operated from Germany with Lufthansa and from Switzerland by Swiss. But these carriers use smaller 50-seater Airbus A319s or B737s.
It is not yet clear whether there is sufficient demand in the French market for a 90-seater business class flight. The premium transatlantic market from Paris is much smaller and less competitive than it is from London. And L’Avion doesn’t have the local brand identity of Air France.
Early reports indicate that L’Avion is flying with a lot of empty seats but, on the other hand, that was also true of Eos and Maxjet when they began flying to New York from Stansted in the winter of 2005.
For more information go to lavion.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter