Air France has announced the launch of Chennai – its fourth destination in India. The airline will operate thrice a week starting 14th June 2020. The flights will be operated by the B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with a capacity of 279 seats (30 Business, 21 Premium Economy and 228 Economy class). Air France currently operates to Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru. Air France is returning to Chennai having last operated to Chennai till April 2009 with four times a week serviced with A340-300 aircraft.
This new launch comes over a year after Jet Airways – a partner of Air France suspended services. Jet Airways operated five times a week service to Paris from Chennai and Air India offers an international connector from Chennai to Paris via New Delhi.
AF108 CDG1010 – 2330MAA 247
AF107 MAA0105 – 0800CDG 135
In Summer 2020 schedule, Air France will operate 24 weekly flights to India while partner KLM will operate 14 weekly flights to India – operating to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. By Winter 2020, the frequencies will go up to 40 from current 38.
Air France which is part of Air France – KLM group competes with the airlines from Lufthansa group (Lufthansa and Swiss), IAG (British Airways) and the middle eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar) to tap the Indian traffic to Europe and North America.
India has been attracting a lot of new connections lately with American Airlines announcing flights to Bengaluru, the Japanese carriers making a foray to Bengaluru and Chennai and Ethiopian Airlines announcing flights to Chennai after starting flights to Bengaluru recently. Finally, airlines are looking at destinations beyond New Delhi and Mumbai!
Chennai is one of the busiest airports in the country and has been grappling with shortage of space to expand. The IATA level 3 airport has been short of slots for a considerable time. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG) is the largest airport in France and second busiest in Europe. It is operated by Groupe ADP which recently announced a 49% stake in GMR airports – the operator of New Delhi and Hyderabad airports.