French carrier Aigle Azur is pushing ahead with its expansion into the long-haul market.
Aigle Azur is pushing ahead with its expansion into the long-haul market. The French carrier inaugurated its new service between Paris Orly and Beijing on 5th September. It is currently the only airline offering flights from Orly to Beijing.
Aigle Azur is offering a thrice-weekly service to the Chinese capital, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, using an A330-200 featuring a two-class layout with 19 seats in Business and 263 in Economy, including 46 Premium Economy seats. Tickets start at €195, one way.
The launch of the Beijing service — the first time in the airline's 72-year history that it has operated routes to China — comes two months after the inauguration of flights to Sao Paulo-Campinas, also using an A330-200.
The two leased A330s, previously operated by Air Berlin, feature a new “silver” livery. They join the airline's existing fleet of nine A320s and one A319.
The expansion into the long-haul market is part of the strategy being implemented by CEO Frantz Yvelin, who took the reins of the company one year ago. The strategy also includes a reinforcement of the carrier's medium-haul network and closer ties to Corsair and TAP Air Portugal.
The new long-haul routes to Beijing and Sao Paulo are accompanied by extended code-share agreements with China's Hainan Airlines and Brazilian carrier Azul for onward travel connections. Hainan is a subsidiary of HNA Group, which holds a 48% stake in Aigle Azur, while David Neeleman has a 5% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines along with a 32% stake in Aigle Azur. Hainan also owns a 17% stake in Azul.