Air France will operate a service between Guadeloupe’s Pointe-a-Pitre and Miami throughout the winter season. Running twice a week, the route will be served using an A320 aircraft. However, this comes amid a backdrop of potential strike action by their subsidiary Air France HOP’s pilots.
According to schedules released by Routes Online, Air France will be adding a direct route between Pointe-a-Pitre to Miami for the winter 2019/20 season. Previously a summer seasonal route, this will be the first time Air France have extended it into the winter season.
What are the details?
The service will operate from 29th October on a twice weekly basis. Using an A320, the route will run from Pointe-a-Pitre International Airport (PTP) on the island of Grande Terre in Guadeloupe directly to Miami (MIA) throughout the winter season. The schedule, at this time, looks like this:
- AF616: Departs PTP at 08:00, arriving in MIA at 10:30
- AF617: Departs MIA at 12:15, arriving in PTP at 16:35
Previously this route was operated by Air France only on a summer seasonal basis. In 2018 and 2019 it was run in July and August only, so the addition of a winter schedule is something new for Air France.
France has always had a big role to play in the Caribbean, and operate a number of inter-island services around their territories. They have two A320s based at Point-a-Pitre airport for flights to the US; the one for the Miami route is thought to have 14 business class seats and 144 economy seats available.
On this route, they’ll compete with American Airlines for direct Miami services.
Not an altogether rosy outlook
In other Air France news, pilots of the subsidiary HOP are considering strike action in the coming weeks. The HOP unit was rebranded earlier this year from HOP! to Air France HOP, bringing it under the parent company’s livery. In a press release at the time, Group CEO Benjamin Smith said,
“This is the next step towards consolidating the strength of our brands and increasing the clarity and overall consistency of the Air France-KLM Group’s offer,”
However, pilots are not happy that while in many ways they are closer to AF, they are still not playing on a level field with Air France pilots. They say that their contracts are weaker and not in line with the conditions and pay of their parent company counterparts, and are meeting tomorrow (July 9th) in what the union is describing as a ‘last chance’ to find a solution.
Although this issue has been present for some time, more recently it has come to a greater head over the closure of Joon. Now cabin crew are also raising objection, as their counterparts in Joon have, since it closed, been subsumed into the parent company, receiving the same pay and benefits as long standing Air France employees.
In a statement to French publication Air Journal, they said,
“While the Joon [employees] have just been integrated into the Air France crews, the fate of the [crews working for] Hop is completely ignored. However, they have been working in the group for almost 20 years for some (with difficult working conditions, short nights, five services per day without receiving any incentive bonus group in 20 years), without any prospect of evolution within of the parent company.”
The prospect of a strike which extends beyond the pilots is a real danger for Air France, and could see disruption over the busy summer period.
Simple Flying have reached out to Air France for comment, both on the new route and the potential strike action, and will update this post when a response is received.