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The great American design of French bee

French bee is consolidating its service to the American market. On April 30, it began operating a new Orly-Los Angeles line. It is operated up to six flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) by Airbus A350-1000, to the Tom Bradley International terminal. For the occasion, the company will offer an introductory price starting at €249 including tax one way. French bee will operate, from December, three frequencies per week to Florida, taking advantage of the delivery of its second Airbus A350-1000. This winter, French bee will therefore have an all-A350 fleet of six aircraft (four Airbus A350-900s and two Airbus A350-1000s). With Los Angeles and Miami, French bee will therefore offer four major American destinations in its network: San Francisco (three flights per week) with an extension to Papeete, New York (seven flights per week), Los Angeles and Miami. It should also be remembered that French bee has an interline agreement with Alaska Airlines which gives it access to more than 100 domestic American destinations. This agreement was announced in February 2020 and is of the “interline” type. As a reminder, the “interline” or “interline” agreements allow, by bilateral agreement, airlines to offer their connecting flights for sale. Thanks to this agreement, French bee and Alaska Airlines customers can benefit from many advantages: a wider choice in terms of destinations, mainly in the United States and at the best price, automatic reprotection on the next available flight of passengers in case of delay or cancellation of a flight operated by one of the companies, baggage check-in and delivery of boarding cards at the point of departure for the entire trip. Remember that, from New York / Newark, Alaska Airlines serves Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon), San Diego, San Francisco, San José and Seattle. Departing from San Francisco, it serves Austin, Boston, Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), Chicago O’Hare, Dallas, Everett, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Kahului/Maui, Kailua/Kona, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York-JFK, New York/ Newark, Orange County/ Santa Ana, Orlando, Palm Springs, Portland (Oregon), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Salt Lake City, San Diego, Seattle, Washington Dulles and Washington Reagan. French bee is, for the moment, marketed in the United States by three people based in Florida, plus a reservation center, but plans to strengthen its teams as part of the development of its American network.

Four major American destinations

“To be credible on the American market, we need to consolidate our service with new major routes,” explains Jean-Paul Dubreuil, president of the Dubreuil Aéro group. French bee wants to take advantage of the very strong historical and tourist ties that unite the two countries. It should be remembered that in 2019, according to figures from Atout France (France’s tourism development agency), before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, 4.7 million American tourists came to France. This was the first long-haul “outbound” market for France.

As Atout France pointed out in August 2021, France had experienced four consecutive years of increases in American tourist numbers up to 2019 (+11% between 2016 and 2019), which clearly shows that France remains an extremely popular destination for Americans. “The interruption of departures imposed by the health crisis has only reinforced the desire to return. As of August 20, 2021, France ranked second among the most requested European destinations in the last 30 days departing from the United States. Moreover, according to ForwardKeys, France was in the top 3 leading destinations in terms of American arrivals for July 2021. “Even more positive trends are emerging for 2022 and some operators are already announcing that they have filled up reservations for certain dates », specifies Atout France. A trend that is confirmed by the management of Dubreuil Aéro and French bee. It should be remembered that the Orly-New York route, launched by French bee on July 14, 2021, a year later than the date initially planned, obviously due to the impact of the air transport crisis linked to the health crisis. . “The Dom-Tom, our starting niche, being now covered, New York quickly became obvious: for our model, with large planes that have to be filled, we need high-demand connections”, specified Jean-Paul Dubreuil on July 12, 2021 in an interview with French Morning, an information site dedicated to French expatriates in North America. “It was important to position yourself before the others and if demand is weak from France to New York, reservations are already very dynamic in the other direction”, he specified then. During the recent press conference announcing the launch of the Orly-Los Angeles and Miami lines, Marc Rochet returned to the first months of the launch of the Orly-New York line. “Between July 14 and November, when the travel ban to the United States was lifted, so we only had American traffic on the line. Despite this, we had 50% fills. We are now at 80% and more than 65,000 passengers have been transported on the line since July 14, 2021,” explains the president of French bee. Note that, in the United States-France direction, French bee offers Train+Air connections, joining Orly airport and Massy TGV station, about fifteen minutes away, by shuttles. It is thus possible to reach Lille, Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Lyon and Marseille with a single ticket for a guaranteed end-to-end journey. 50,000 passengers have already used this service since it was offered by French bee. The management of the low cost company has now announced that it is in discussion with the Spanish company to offer connections at Orly to France and Europe.

Rising oil prices affect prices

In the summer of 2022, French bee will therefore serve Réunion (ten flights per week), New York (seven flights per week), San Francisco (three flights per week), Los Angeles (six to seven flights per week) and Papeete ( three flights per week). Even if the company is concerned about the rise in oil prices which should lead to an increase in air fares, French bee is already very well oriented for the summer of 2022. “Depending on the destinations, we are on booking levels which are income to those of 2019, or even beyond. There is a real recovery in demand, driven by affinity and leisure customers,” explains Marc Rochet, president of French bee. Despite everything, if the company continues to try to offer the lowest possible prices, with a very simple price list (three options that the passenger personalizes according to the services they want), it will most certainly have to pass the rise in oil prices on its tariffs. “Fuel costs have doubled in a single year,” says Marc Rochet. “Fuel now accounts for 28% of our total costs. Fuel costs us $1,300 a tonne. And, beyond the price of oil itself, kerosene costs even more to manufacture. We have already increased our prices by 10% and given the trend, we will have to raise them by around 15%,” he adds.


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