Aigle Azur, France’s second-largest airline after legacy carrier Air France, is fighting for its future. According to French newspaper Le Figaro, the airline is facing financial difficulties and might ground its fleet as from September 2019.
The very sensitive dossier about the airline – employing 1,400 people – is closely followed by the French Ministry of Economy and Finance (Bercy). In June, the airline was forced to return one of its nine Airbus A320s to the lessor. According to the newspaper, other lessors are afraid that the airline will not be able to pay the coming monthly leasing fees.
About two years ago, Aigle Azur’s new CEO Frantz Yvelin saw things bigger by expanding the medium-haul operations – 10 Airbus A32F aircraft – with long-haul operations: two Airbus A330s joined the fleet, but flights to Beijing, China (suspended) and Campinas, Brazil (ends 9 September 2019) didn’t last long.
Meanwhile, Aigle Azur responded to the article in the French newspaper. The airline confirmed that one aircraft went back to the lessor “for the wrong reason“, and strongly denied that other lessors are eager to take back more aircraft. The airline ensures that it will operate the entire August schedule and that it records a record month in terms of turnover, beating all the previous monthly turnovers.
The airline didn’t deny it faces difficulties: “Like many players in the sector, especially in Europe, Aigle Azur does not deny any difficulties in a particularly difficult context (flygscam/ flight shame, eco-contribution project, over-capacity last winter in Europe, autumn oil impact 2018).”
The company confirmed that it is working on different projects to ensure its sustainability both in the medium and the long term: “Everyone at Aigle Azur is mobilised to ensure the transport, comfort and safety of its thousands of passengers.”