Low-cost carrier, Flybe, has stopped flying from Southampton Airport to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport in Paris, France. The airline will instead travel from the Hampshire hub to Paris Orly, the second-largest airport in France, located 11 miles from the city centre, and 27 miles from CDG.
The airline’s flight from the south coast is now the only UK-France route hosted by Flybe to travel to Orly. Whilst the airline has not given a reason for the switch to Orly, Flybe has entered into a codesharing agreement with flag-carrier, AirFrance, at CDG, which may have required a sacrifice in aeroplane slots, specifically those planes flying to Southampton.
Codesharing is the process by which two cooperating airlines sell tickets on their partners’ aircraft. For example, as part of the airline alliance, Oneworld, British Airways (BA) is allowed to sell seats on Qantas-branded flights, and vice-versa. More simply, the two carriers are sharing each other’s aircraft on certain routes. The advantage of such an agreement is that BA will be able to reach destinations offered by Qantas, which may have been beyond the UK airline’s means.
With regards to the Flybe-AirFrance codeshare, the letters ‘BE,’ a unique code used to identify Flybe in booking systems, will be affixed to AirFrance planes travelling from CDG to Budapest in Hungary, Sofia in Bulgaria, and Vienna in Austria, among others.
Similarly, the Paris-Southampton route, operated by Flybe, will be branded with AirFrance’s ‘AF’ code, allowing the French carrier to pull out of the Hampshire hub completely. Other Flybe flights, such as Birmingham-Avignon and Gatwick-Bergerac, will also bear AirFrance’s call sign, expanding its market in the UK.
Flybe has intimated that the Southampton-CDG route, which ended on October 31 2010, may return in the future.