A French Bee Airbus A350 gets pushed back from the gate at Paris Orly Airport
With the United States government’s new policy for international travel starting November 8, we talked with French Bee President Marc Rochet about how that airline will be handling the changes, as well as how they’ve been managing their operations during the pandemic.
“In light of the recent travel ban lift announcement, we will be resuming our flight operations in San Francisco, which connect passengers to Paris-Orly and Tahiti, in November. During the pandemic, we shifted operations to fly through Vancouver and then Toronto to continue the route. We plan to relaunch this popular route three times per week beginning on November 10,” Rochet said.
BONUS: An Economically Elegant Flight to Paris With French Bee
French Bee had originally planned to launch its New York to Paris route in 2020, but put it on hold during the height of the pandemic. Instead, they launched the route to coincide with Bastille Day on July 14, 2021.
“We are very happy to see the U.S. traffic open to French passengers and are ready to put more demand on the Paris to New York route. We will fly at least three times per week from Paris-Orly to Newark. We are preparing to fly at least four times per week in December for Paris-Orly to Newark, and then planning three times per week from SFO to Tahiti,” he said, adding that if there is high demand, they can add more flights.
Paris is slowly opening back up to tourists
Asked about current consumer travel behavior for international travel bookings, especially to France, Rochet said that, “at this time, only American residents have been able to travel to Europe. Even with these restrictions, we have made a load factor of 60-62% by the end of September, which was really good. We achieved this by arranging cargo flights from Europe.”
Travel rules have been changing frequently over the course of the pandemic. “People are not entirely clear on the travel restrictions yet so there is some hesitancy in booking international trips right now. There’s a lot of clarity missing, but once we have a better understanding from the U.S. administration, we believe we will see a big demand to travel again,” he said.
BONUS: Big Fun During a Behind-the-Scenes Ops Tour at Paris Orly Airport
Looking ahead, Rochet said he “thinks we need to add new Airbus airplanes to our fleet each year because we do anticipate a big demand at the end of the pandemic. We anticipate that business traffic will be low. We expect bookings to increase with families traveling back and forth, as well as students and travelers.”
A very unusual picture for 2020: remember the days when we all could just pack into one place without a care in the world? Well, this photo is from Zigermeet 2019, a very well-attended airshow.
A year ago, no one would ever have thought what changes COVID-19 would force upon us in 2020. The airshow industry was hit very hard, with nearly all American airshows being canceled, and only a handful able to adapt to a drive-in style which allowed for ample social distancing. And it sure will be interesting to see how the 2021 airshow season will look like. What will the new normal be? Maybe more of the drive-in style shows? Time will tell. But it will definitely be a while before we are back to the “good old days” of massive crowds all packed together.
Speaking of airshows, since I have not been able to attend a single airshow this year, let’s look back at an airshow I attended during my vacation in Switzerland last summer.
What exactly is the Zigermeet? It is the name of an airshow in Switzerland. Ziger is a byproduct from the process of making cheese. And meet, as in meeting or get together. The Ziger comes from the area of the Glarus Region in Switzerland, which is approximately a 65km or 40 mile drive south east of Zurich. The town of Mollis has an airport and that is where the Zigermeet 2019 airshow was held on August 16-17, 2019.
Many years ago the first Zigermeet airshow was a very small event, more like of a get together/fly-in of aviation enthusiasts. But over the years, the show kept growing, and with 2019 the Zigermeet became the largest airshow in Switzerland. Friday was considered a training day, with about 10,000 attendees, and Saturday was the main event day with 20,000 attendees.
Air France flight 338 arrives at Sea-Tac Airport March 25
Following an absence of over six years, Air France is once again flying to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, using a Boeing 777-200ER with a three-class cabin for flights from Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG) to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on an initial schedule of three flights per week. Seattle is Air France’s 12th U.S. gateway.
Of course there was cake
The new SEA-CDG service will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, increasing to five per week during the summer peak season (June 19 ’“ Sept. 1) by adding Mondays and Tuesdays to the schedule.
Swiss International Air Lines took delivery on March 13 of the final Boeing 777-300ER of their 10-aircraft order
Swiss International Air Lines took delivery of its 10th Boeing 777-300ER on March 13, completing the now-expanded order it originally placed in 2013. That order was for six aircraft; three more were added in 2015, and the final 777 was added in 2016, the same year the first jet in the batch was delivered to the airline.
The new jets, with a maximum range of 7,370 nautical miles, also offer lower operating costs than competing aircraft, making them a very attractive option on long-haul routes.
Swiss employees celebrate the delivery in Everett, Wash.
Swiss placed the order as part of a planned update to their long-haul fleet. The 340-seat 777-300ER is used on eight intercontinental routes, all making use of the airline’s Zurich hub: Bangkok, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, San Francisco, and Singapore. The airline also operates Airbus A330-300s and A340-300s on its long-haul routes.