Patrick Alexandre, Air France: « La stratégie de hub est indispensable »

Air France-KLM’s Executive Vice-President – International and the Netherlands sheds light on how the Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub is organised and the viability of such a strategy for a destination like Mauritius.

photos : air france image bank

What are the main aspects of the hub structure at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport?

The Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub, just as the Amsterdam-Schiphol one, functions like a centre which operates six times a day around connection slots. Arrivals and departures are concentrated around six time slots which enable passengers to transit rapidly between medium-haul and long-haul flights. Thanks to their hub, Air France and KLM are able to link Europe with the rest of the world. Each day, the Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub offers 25,000 transit options that can be conducted in less than two hours. That’s twice as many as Frankfurt and four times as many as London Heathrow!

For several years now, Air France and Aéroports de Paris, the airport authority for Paris, have invested massively in infrastructure. The new Hall M in Terminal 2E, opened in June 2012, is as good as any in the world. And the new Air France Salon, designed like a park in the middle of the new terminal, is the pride of the whole company. But that’s not all! Transit routes have been simplified and shortened, and our SkyPriority passengers are now provided with special, preferential services. Our aim is to develop a relationship based on a welcoming and attentive approach.
In fact, Air France-KLM owes its network strength very much to the Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol twin hub.

What has been the impact of such an organisational structure for an airline like Air France?

The majority of passengers on a long-haul Air France flight from Paris-Charles de Gaulle have already taken an earlier flight. Thanks to the hub, we are not serving just passengers from the area around Paris but from all over Europe. Without transit passengers, we reckon that we would only be able to maintain a quarter of Air France long-haul flights. It’s very much been the hub structure that has enabled Air France-KLM to develop over the last twenty years.

Is such a strategy viable for a destination like Mauritius?

The Air France hub strategy has been indispensable in developing traffic flow to Mauritius. It has meant that each day passengers from 240 destinations in 100 countries help to fill the Air France and Air Mauritius flights, thanks to our joint venture. These are the same passengers who stay in the hotels and dine in restaurants, in a word who ensure Mauritius’ continued tourism and economic development.

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