- Title: Air France-KLM unveils first of its 60 Airbus A220-300 jets
- Date: 29th September 2021
- Summary: ROISSY-EN-FRANCE, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 29, 2021) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** AIR FRANCE AIRLINER AIRBUS A220 BEING UNVEILED AT CEREMONY (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) ANNE-MARIE COUDERC, CHAIR OF AIR FRANCE-KLM BOARD OF DIRECTORS; FRENCH JUNIOR TRANSPORT MINISTER JEAN-BAPTISTE DJEBBARI; BENJAMIN SMITH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AIR FRANCE-KLM; AND ANNE RIGAIL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AIR FRANCE, POSING IN FRONT OF AIRCRAFT SMITH DJEBBARI AND COUDERC AUDIENCE CLAPPING DJEBBARI, COUDERC AND SMITH ENTERING AIRCRAFT SMITH WALKING IN AISLE SMITH AND DJEBBARI INSIDE COCKPIT SEAT DJEBBARI, COUDERC AND RIGAIL TALKING DJEBBARI OPENING OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT SMITH TALKING SMITH POSING IN FRONT OF OLD AIR FRANCE LOGO SMITH IN FRONT OF ENGINE (SOUNDBITE) (French) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AIR FRANCE-KLM, BENJAMIN SMITH, SAYING: "There are really good news. The announcement two weeks ago by the United States of the reopening of borders, that's good news for us, it was first planned for July so it took several months, longer than expected but this is really good news. We saw strong demand during the summer on leisure travel in Europe, our offer was even higher than 2019 for some countries around the Mediterranean but still, we had only 65 percent of our offer for Q3 and it will be similar for Q4. So it's still complicated for us, as it is for other actors in the industry." SMITH TALKING TO REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (French) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF AIR FRANCE-KLM, BENJAMIN SMITH, SAYING: "I think people are still eager to visit places all around the world. Now we are a global planet, people want to experience different cultures. Lots of companies have investments all around the world, it's not easy to cross the Atlantic other than by flying, so I'm convinced that aviation will always be an important part of society." SMITH TALKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH JUNIOR TRANSPORT MINISTER, JEAN-BAPTISTE DJEBBARI, SAYING: "There are several ways not to get to where our common ambition leads to and there is a good way to do it, firstly to have a level playing field - I was just talking about sustainable flying - if we go towards a mandate for multi-national companies - and that's what we need in the long-run - with the same rules for everyone and that we decarbonize very quickly, there is merit and virtue in putting all companies, industries, all actors of the sector on the same footing, and therefore not see what we've seen in the past years with social and fiscal dumping, something which is often detrimental to France. So this is where we will be politically vigilant." AIR FRANCE STAFF STANDING IN FRONT OF NEW AIRCRAFT
- Embargoed: 13th October 2021 13:18
- Keywords: A220 AIR FRANCE-KLM Air France Airbus
- Location: ROISSY-EN-FRANCE, FRANCE
- City: ROISSY-EN-FRANCE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Company News Markets,Europe,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWRWXFR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:PLEASE NOTE: EDIT 3148-AIR FRANCE-FLEET/ CONTAINS EXTRA SHOTS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THE AIRCRAFT
Air France-KLM unveiled its latest aircraft on Wednesday (September 29), as chief executive Ben Smith said the company was looking at raising fresh funds soon after completing a share issue earlier this year, bolstered by a positive trend in bookings since the United States announced a reopening to Europeans.
Talk of recovery accelerated earlier this month when the United States said it would reopen to travellers from 33 countries, including most of Europe, who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Asked on Wednesday to what extent this had prompted an immediate spike in transatlantic bookings, Smith said: "a lot".
The North Atlantic is the most lucrative market for Europe's largest long-haul carriers but business travel, which makes up the lion's share of profits, has been hit hard by the crisis.
Air France-KLM expects to benefit from pent-up demand from large corporate customers and others eager to travel to renew business contact with customers.
But it is to early to say how far this will result in a sustained recovery, Smith said.
He said Air France-KLM was less exposed than rivals British Airways and Lufthansa to trends in corporate travel because up to half of its premium cabins had been filled with people travelling for leisure even before the pandemic.
Paris is seen as a prime destination for wealthy tourists.
(Production: Antony Paone, Lucien Libert)
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