“The Air France flight to Brussels is leaving from Platform Two,” could soon be a commonplace announcement following the French carrier’s partnership with railway operator Thalys International. Air France recognizes that the SNCF is its main rival in the French domestic market, but the airline also operates several routes in partnership with the French rail company.
Despite the ERA’s furious protest against what it regards as anticompetitive government subsidies to rail operators, the darlings of the powerful European environmental lobby continue to draw traffic away from ERA members and regional airlines in general.
Three years after they merged, Air France and KLM say the combination has paid off. At a press conference to announce the 2006-07 result here in Paris last month, chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta reported strong increases in revenue and income. The joint French/ Dutch operation is profitable, and the share price has risen 70 percent this year. “By every standard, it’s been successful,” added vice chairman Leo Van Wijk.