The Big Winners From Aigle Azur’s Former Slot Redistributions

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French carrier Aigle Azur collapsed back in September after failing to implement its strategic expansion plans. Now its former slots at Paris Orly Airport have been reallocated to other airlines, and some carriers have done pretty well for themselves.

Aigle Azur, F-HBIO, Airbus A320-214
Aigle Azur’s Orly slots have finally been reallocated. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

We’ve seen a number of airlines go bust this year, from relative newcomers to the commercial aviation game, to well-established names such as Thomas Cook.

Just like Thomas Cook, Aigle Azur had been around for a long time. It wasn’t a large carrier by any means, operating a fleet of just 11 aircraft when it collapsed. But it was one of France’s oldest carriers behind Air France.

Established in 1946, just after the end of the Second World War, Aigle Azur’s home was Paris Orly Airport.

Aigle Azur and Paris Orly

Aigle Azur had a significant presence at Paris’s secondary airport up until the day it collapsed.

According to reports by ATW Online, Aigle Azur had 12,335 slots at Paris Orly Airport. Usually, these slots would be sold off to the highest bidder as part of the liquidation process.

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Paris Orly Terminal sud
Paris Orly was Aigle Azur’s hub. Photo: Dylan Agbagni (CC0) via Flickr

But in France, the process is slightly different. Before liquidation, Aigle Azur’s slots would have only been available if a company bought out the carrier.

Now that Aigle Azur no longer exists, the reallocation of its slots fell to COHOR, the body which determines flight schedules in France.

Which airlines got what?

Paris Orly is limited to just 250,000 slots per year in order to ensure the airport doesn’t become too crowded or strained by the pressure of having too many flights and passengers.

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Every year COHOR deals with slot allocations and has to distribute slots to carriers that want to operate flights out of French Airports.

French aviation journal Airway1 reported that COHOR had received 232,688 slot requests for Paris Orly as of Wednesday. But we now know which airlines managed to secure Aigle Azur’s old slots.

Lufthansa was awarded 1,460 slots and will operate two daily flights to Munich out of Paris Orly Airport. Lufthansa is actually a newcomer to Paris Orly Airport, currently only operating flights to and from the French capital out of Charles de Gaulle Airport.

However, it is not the only newcomer. Wizz Air, easyJet and Air France Hop have also been awarded slots at Orly, choosing to operate flights to Budapest & Sofia, Glasgow and Frankfurt respectively.

B757-256 LA COMPAGNIE
La Compagnie received some of the much-sought-after slots. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr

Meanwhile, Air Caraibes, Transavia and Corsair were each awarded the equivalent of two daily flights from the airport.

TAP Air Portugal was awarded 66 summer-only slots and business class carrier La Compagnie received three weekly slots. This is great news for La Compagnie in particular as it looks to increase its share of the transatlantic business class market.

The airline has only been around for five years, but it already provides around 25% of the business class capacity between the two cities. Now it is able to increase its offering out of Paris Orly, this market share should continue to rise if everything goes well.

COHOR has not yet been able to respond to Simple Flying’s request for comment on the slot reallocation.

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