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Industry trends, on the fly

on the fly: France’s busiest airline markets

September 18, 2023

Analysis of France’s international airline market

Cirium on the fly

France’s busiest airline markets


France’s airline market is one of the world’s largest, the 14th largest in fact, based on seats scheduled this year, as revealed by data from Cirium Diio. One reason why it’s not even larger? Its extensive high-speed rail network, which competes with airlines. France, however, is the largest tourist market in the world, an important fact for airlines at a time when leisure travel is booming.

As you can see from the Cirium Diio data below, France is a very Paris-heavy market. Counting the city’s three major airports (De Gaulle, Orly, and Beauvais), the capital accounts for 56% of all departing seats from the country. While De Gaulle is less busy today than it was before the pandemic, the opposite is true for Orly. That’s an airport with lots of low-cost carriers, led by Air France’s subsidiary Transavia, IAG’s subsidiary Vueling, and the independent LCC EasyJet. Beauvais is dominated by Ryanair, though EasyJet and Wizz Air are present as well.

Other French markets have unique characteristics. Nice is an upscale tourist attraction located on the famed French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur. Marseille and Lyon are France’s two largest cities outside of Paris. Marseille happens to be a big Ryanair market, while Lyon is a big EasyJet market. Toulouse is home to Airbus. Nantes is Transavia’s second leading French market after Paris. Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, is the birthplace of Napoleon!

Overall, there’s a lot about France for a passenger airline to like: Lots of business traffic, lots of tourist traffic, and lots of visiting family and friends (VFR) traffic.

NEXT ON THE FLY: New York’s Largest Airlines

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