France's XL Airways confirms plans exit medium-haul market

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France's XL Airways confirms plans exit medium-haul market

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France's XL Airways confirms plans to exit medium-haul market
12 June, 2014

XL Airways France (SE, Paris CDG) managing director, Laurent Magnin, has confirmed his airline's plans to exit the medium-haul market citing its seasonality and intense competition. French aviation newswire, Tourmag, quotes Magnin as saying that while XL will continue to operate its two B737-800s until their leases expire in 2018, it would ideally like to add more A330s instead should the opportunity present itself.

"This activity is not profitable. It no longer has any significance at the economic or the strategic level. Its poor performance reflects in the decrease in the number of our passengers which is why we will phase it out gradually," he said.

According to the ch-aviation route databse, the B737s are used on scheduled flights to Ajaccio, Bastia, Figari and Las Palmas, charter services as well as on various European and North African routes on behalf of Luxair (LG, Luxembourg).

Magnin said that XL will instead push ahead with plans to reinvent itself as a low-cost, longhaul carrier; a transformation which began in 2012 with the launch of services to to New York JFK, Las Vegas McCarran, and San Francisco, CA in the United States and the Caribbean.

On XL's entry into the difficult Caribbean market, the MD said his airline had found the going tough partly due to its seasonality but also because travellers from France's overseas departments such as Fort de France and Pointe à Pitre tended to be more cautious about new operators until they had proven themselves.
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