The noise had been circulating for a few weeks already, in front of the weak fill rates at the start and at the finish on the Brest tarmac. The news officially fell on Sunday September 4, 2022, by an email sent by the Air France communication department to its institutional relations: its subsidiary Transavia
will no longer provide, from October 30, 2022, the link between Brest and Orly (four weekly return flights), but will reinforce the Brest-Roissy line with one additional flight per day. The company highlights the lack of profitability of the line, to justify this decision, with an occupancy rate of its flights below 30%.
The method is detestable, with a decision announced in a light way and without any consultation with the local actors
The covid crisis has been there
In Brest, and more widely in Finistère, the information was received like a thunderclap by elected officials and economic circles. ? “The method, already, is detestable, with a decision announced in a light way and without any consultation with the local actors”, reacts, this Tuesday evening, Didier Le Gac, deputy of rural Brest. “Once again, it is the Breton tip which is penalized”, gears upSenator Philip Paul
. For Jean-Charles Larsonneur, Horizons MP, “at a time when the economic vitality of our metropolis is in full swing, we cannot cut Brest from the rest of the territory”.
If the sling is up to the shock of the news, it is because this line, provided since 1961 in Brest, is historically very appreciated by economic circles, because it makes it possible to ensure appointments during the day in Paris from way much easier than landing at Charles-de-Gaule, out of the way.
After having been the line that worked best from Brest, its attendance has suffered the full brunt of the covid crisis and its consequences on business travel, which has since favored more appointments by videoconference and remote work. .
“This is not the only reason for the lower attendance of the line”, defends Didier Le Gac. “Transavia has adopted timetables that are unsuited to the needs of Brest residents, and operates with oversized 186-seat Boeing 737-800s compared to the 100-seat CRJ 1000s previously used”.
Eyes turned towards Celeste
For two days, the telephone lines have been heating up between elected officials, the economic chamber and decision-makers from the tip of Brittany, who are to meet this Thursday, to organize the response “in a coordinated and collective way” (dixit Claude Ravalec, president of the CCIMBO) and attempt to save this line. If no one seems to believe that Air France can reconsider its decision, Finisterians intend to obtain support from the company to develop a new offer with another player. All eyes are already on Chalair, which operates at Quimper airport, but especially the Morlaisian company Céleste which
should operate with CRJ 1000, potentially cut for this line. Asked this Tuesday evening, Bruno Besnéard, the CEO of Céleste, confirms: “We are candidates for the resumption of the Brest-Orly line”.
In the meantime, the Finistère deputies of the Renaissance parliamentary group were due to meet, this Tuesday evening, the Minister of Transport Clément Beaune, to discuss the opening up of the Breton tip, which connects the disappointments with this departure, the difficulties of the airport of Quimper, and the decline of the SNCF on the TGV rallying Brest to Paris in three hours.
Air France’s low-cost subsidiary KLM took over the route in July 2020.