Budget airline Transavia’s French branch says it has seen a substantial increase in bookings over the past few weeks. Attributed to a ‘catch-up’ effect and a strong desire for leisure travel, it has caused the low-cost specialist to schedule as many flights over the next two months as it did for the same period in 2019.
Flights to Greece up by 40%
While the crisis continues for many airlines around the world, some are seeing a rebound close to pre-pandemic levels. Air France-KLM Group’s wholly-owned low-cost subsidiary Transavia revealed Monday that it would be operating even more services from France to Greece this year than it did in the summer of 2019, increasing flights by as much as 40%.
With bookings for leisure destinations Spain and Portugal also doing well, overall, the airline will make as many seats available for July and August as it did two years ago. In terms of load factors for June, Transavia France is already at about 70% of pre-crisis levels, compared to only 50% in April.
The airline’s CEO, Nathalie Stubler, told BFM Business yesterday that the carrier had seen a 30% to 40% increase in sales over the past few weeks compared to the same time in 2019. She attributed this both to a ‘catch-up effect’ from the months of little to no sales but also to strong demand for leisure travel from French holidaymakers.
Bookings may also have been helped along by the news that all member states must roll out the EU digital health passport by July 1st. Several countries, including Greece, have already begun using the system.
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Transavia France set to ‘double in size’
While Transavia France will be operating a schedule reaching 2019 capacity, parent airline Air France is planning for 65% of pre-crisis levels for July and August. Transavia’s network news came just as Air France CEO Ben Smith announced at the Paris Air Show that the parent airline group would be investing heavily in its budget subsidiary.
“We have accelerated the growth of our low-cost carrier Transavia. The point-to-point market continues to become more commoditized, and Transavia is the right tool to compete with our biggest low-cost competitors. We are doubling its size,” Mr Smith said Monday.
Transavia currently flies to and from six destinations in France – Paris-Orly, Bergerac, Montpellier, Nice, Toulon, and Grenoble. Pre-crisis, it flew to an additional 19 countries with a total of 88 destinations, serving 157 routes.
Like many other low-cost specialists, the airline operates an all-Boeing 737 fleet. Transavia France has 48 737-800s, with another two on order. Only three of the planes are currently listed as inactive. Its Schiphol-based Dutch sister carrier, Transavia Airlines, has 39 planes – four 737-700s and 35 737-800s.
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