Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Air France says its decision today (17 October) to cut four frequencies from the current 12 it operators from Paris Charles de Gaulle to London Heathrow, is due to the competitive pressure from high-speed rail services.
Despite sweetening the pill with news that the now-vacant slots would in large part allow SkyTeam partner, Delta Air Lines, to start Heathrow-US flights for the first time, the French flag carrier is nonetheless conceding that battle is drawn.
”We will drop four frequencies from Paris-London because of the high-speed train,” said Air France chairman and CEO, Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
”It”s not only Air France, [however] but probably other British operators between London and Paris.”
With the new Eurostar St Pancras terminal slated for a 14 November opening, journey times between the UK capital and Paris will be slashed to just 2h15min, putting the train on a virtual city centre to city centre equal footing with the airlines.
Gatwick has already been seen off by Eurostar and the Anglo-French venture must be eyeing today”s Air France news with some interest. The interesting thought also remains ” why is there no Eurostar service from London to Charles de Gaulle airport?
France is of course, extremely used to high-speed rail services with its comprehensive TGV network and the recent improvement in times between Paris and Strasbourg has also given Air France food for thought.
”We reduced our services from 12 to eight between Paris and Strasbourg, when the high-speed train line opened,” said Air France European consolidation manager, Bernard Peiron.”