Aurélien Fleurot // Photo credit: Eric PIERMONT / AFP 10:20 a.m., October 19, 2023, modified at 10:22 a.m., October 19, 2023

Will Air France's departure from Orly airport benefit others? While the national airline is refocusing its activity on Roissy airport, and bequeathing its slots to its low-cost airline, Transavia, other competitors could also position themselves to take them back.

Air France at Orly, it's almost over! The airline has decided to leave France's second airport in 2026, it announced to its employees. An announcement that displeases local elected officials, such as the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, Eric Ciotti, who fears a worse desert of Nice from Paris, with the departure of the French company. Only flights to Corsica from Orly will continue to be operated by Air France.

Logically, however, the switch of slots of the French company will be to Transavia, which had already taken over some domestic routes operated by Air France such as Toulon or Montpellier. For the time being, management announces that the offer will be the same and that the slots will not be redistributed.

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Will other operators step up to the plate?

"I am not sure that the program that was that of Air France today will be transcribed 100%, that is to say a flight for a flight, on Transavia," doubts Eric Schulz, president of SHZ Consulting, at the microphone of Europe 1. "These questions arise because attendance has dropped. The flights (of Air France) were far from full, especially in the middle of the day with relatively low flights. So, we could limit the number of flights, we would reduce the frequencies to fill the planes a little better because in economic terms, it's not good to fly with a half-empty plane," he continued.

And if these slots open up, without a doubt, there will be candidates, probably on the side of low-cost airlines. At the moment, the number of take-offs and landings at Orly is capped at 250,000 per year. A figure that should logically be reached in 2026, with or without the total takeover of Air France slots available by Transavia.