Premium business class-only carrier La Compagnie is branding out into cargo operations. The airline is working with Worldwide Flight Services to operate two cargo routes from France to the US.
La Compagnie has always had a unique model. The French airline operates business class flights from Paris and Nice to New York. With transatlantic cargo in high demand, the airline will branch out into cargo operations.
The airline has contracted Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) for three years to handle the cargo services and operations. WFS will organize up to 3.5 tonnes of cargo per flight on the airline’s Airbus A321neos. The exact amount will depend on passenger numbers.
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Building on an existing partnership
La Compagnie and WFS already work together, as WFS handles the ground operations in the US for the airline’s passenger services. The company takes care all of La Compagnie’s ramp services in Newark.
Damien Paries, vice president of ground operations for La Compagnie, said,
“WFS is the perfect partner to support the launch of our first-ever freight service. We are confident they will provide the same high-quality experience for our cargo customers as our passengers enjoy when they choose La Compagnie.”
A representative for WFS, John Batten, executive vice president of cargo for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, also commented that high cargo demand made this the perfect time to extend the current partnership. He commented,
“We are confident companies moving cargo between Europe and North America will welcome another choice of capacity in the market, and we look forward to contributing to La Compagnie’s success.”
Transatlantic cargo demand
With many travel restrictions still in place for passengers coming from the US to Europe, La Compagnie’s decision to branch out into new revenue streams is not surprising. Not only is business travel down, but cargo prices are soaring.
According to Aircargonews.com, current prices for cargo from Frankfurt to North America stand at around $4.07 per kg. This puts it at almost double pre-COVID-19 prices. And prices will likely stay high for some time to come.
Even as restrictions lift, it will take some time for demand to recover fully. With fewer passenger flights, there is less space available for cargo, meaning prices will stay high. The average price of cargo heading from Europe to North America reams at around $4 per kg. In June, it dipped below the $4 mark for the first time in seven months. At its peak just before the Christmas holidays, the price soared to around $5 per kg.
Although the move into cargo could prove lucrative for the airline while it waits for business and leisure markets to recover, it is unlikely the airline will significantly impact the market. Currently, the airline operates just two aircraft four times per week. However, this will increase to seven times per week from September.
What do you think of La Compagnie’s plan to expand into cargo? Is it a smart business move, or is it too late to the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.