Air France activity back to normal


With the European and French authorities decision to reopen progressively Europe’s air space, Air France is coming back to its normal operations. On April 20, the French carrier already operated 95% of its long-haul schedule while it only offered 25% of its normal capacity of its medium-haul network. For this Wednesday, Air France is back to its fully operational schedule on its long haul flights while all medium-haul routes will be served except to Northern and Northeastern Europe where air space remains closed. On domestic routes, the carrier will offer over 50% of its normal capacity.
The airline has done its best to help stranded passengers by booking over 10,000 hotel rooms for people blocked at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Busse were also chartered to provincial airports located in Southern France where the carrier operated a few intercontinental flights while Paris airports remained closed to traffic. Air France felt relieved from the French government’s decision to reopen air space. According to Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, a reopening of Europe’s skies was becoming a matter of emergency: “The situation was extremely urgent with millions of passengers being stranded all over the world and more than 60,000 flights cancelled in Europe. The European air transport industry, which has come to a complete standstill, is losing € 150 million per day with Air France-KLM accounting for a quarter of these losses, or € 35 million,” he said.
French State Secretary for Commerce Hervé Novelli said earlier that France tourism industry lost over the last five days over € 200 million, including 30 million for tour operators. According to the Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, all 75,000 French travellers on a package tour should have been repartriated to France until Thursday. Individual travellers should then be all back until the end of the week.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.