Aigle Azur, in difficulty, will stop its service to Portugal and is preparing to yield this activity to the Spanish low-cost Vueling, said Tuesday to AFP President Frantz Yvelin, excluding any threat of imminent disappearance of the second company French airline.
No social impact
"We are preparing to sell a small part of our Paris operations in Vueling, with no social impact, in this context we will keep part of our business in Orly and we will migrate the rest of our business to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. ", explained Frantz Yvelin, who is at the helm of the company, which specializes in serving Algeria, since September 2017.
Vueling is part of the IAG group, which also includes British Airways, Spain's Iberia, Ireland's Aer Lingus and low-cost airline Level. "There is no threat in the short term, but on the other hand there is a threat in the long run, it is real," said Frantz Yvelin.
No interested buyers at this stage
If he assures that the passengers going on vacation have "no fear to have" on their return, he recognizes that the company meets "difficulties" related to the cost of labor in France, the rise in the price of fuel, and to a situation of overcapacity in Europe last autumn. The company, founded in 1946 and whose links with Algeria represent 50% to 60% of the activity, employs 1,150 employees, including 350 in Algeria. It carried 1,881 million passengers in 2018.
It has a turnover of 300 million euros a year but "loses money since 2012", according to Frantz Yvelin. In August, it had close to 25 million euros in cash. "We have not found any interested parties to buy Aigle Azur," he said. The company is owned by Chinese group HNA (49%), American businessman David Neeleman (32%) and Lu Azur (19%). Aigle Azur will stop serving Portugal from late October, according to him.
The proposed sale of this activity was presented to the Works Council on August 5th. He "wished to carry out a further study" that may take two months according to the legal deadline, he said, adding that the management had engaged "the preparatory work so that everything is ready for the outcome of this expertise in early October ".