La Compagnie, a French all-business airline, has a unique model that works well for them. There are several factors that have led to the success of La Compagnie’s model. From narrowbody aircraft with fuel efficiency in mind to a strong focus on leisure passengers, La Compagnie’s model is unique but shows that such an airline can work.
La Compagnie recently starting flying their first A321neo. Before flying the A321neo, La Compagnie only had Boeing 757 aircraft. The newer A321neo will allow La Compagnie to achieve better fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. Furthermore, the aging 757s require more maintenance work than a brand new A321neo, so La Compagnie will be able to save on maintenance costs too. Most costs that an airline faces are passed on to the customer, so by keeping costs down, La Compagnie can keep their prices competitive.
La Compagnie is targeting leisure travelers flying between the United States and France. Leisure travelers tend to be far more price sensitive than business travelers. However, La Compagnie has tailored their offerings specifically for this market. Their prices are lower because they are not catering to traditional business class travelers. This means that, onboard, La Compagnie’s offerings are not necessarily as glamorous as the likes of Delta Air Lines or Swiss.
La Compagnie’s Parisienne operations are based at Paris-Orly airport. And, in the United States, La Compagnie flies to Newark Liberty International Airport. Traditionally, business travelers tend to prefer Charles de Gaulle in Paris or JFK Airport in New York. This is because the airports will open up additional connection opportunities with airline partners. However, La Compagnie does not have any connecting partners.
With leisure passengers generally more amenable to landing a little further from their destination, La Compagnie was able to select the airports that best filled its needs in terms of schedule and slots.
Why so small?
So, La Compagnie offers all-business class flights between France and New York. These flights target leisure travelers and do not cost as much as flights with full-service carriers since La Compagnie has kept costs down. However, La Compagnie’s model does not allow much room for growth.
There is healthy demand between these markets. Plenty of airlines operate multiple daily flights between Paris and New York. Furthermore, Nice does also have connections to the United States, albeit with seasonal service. But where does La Compagnie go next?
La Compagnie will never be able to grow to the size of Air France and British Airways because an all-business model will not work in every market. Looking at British Airways, they have an A318 in an all-business configuration that specifically flies between London’s City Airport and New York- JFK.
La Compagnie and British Airways know that there are only select markets where their offerings as an all-business carrier will work. Though, La Compagnie offers business class at a lower cost, most leisure travelers will still prefer to fly a $500 roundtrip in economy than a $1,700 roundtrip in business.
La Compagnie’s model works for a number of reasons. First, they are small. This kind of model will only work on select routes and La Compagnie understands this. This is why they have not grown massively like other carriers who tried to shake up the market. Secondly, La Compagnie keeps costs down by tailoring their product to leisure travelers. This means they can spend less on the onboard product compared to full-service carriers. And, lastly, La Compagnie is able to improve their economics by flying more fuel-efficient aircraft.
But, at the end of the day, leisure travelers will likely enjoy their flight on La Compagnie over being crammed in coach. Ultimately, that is what La Compagnie is selling.
Have you flown with La Compagnie? Would you fly with La Compagnie? Let us know in the comments!