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Indiaexportnews.com

Air France to close cargo centre to cut costs

  24.09.2013    

As part of the airline's plan to ensure the sustainability of the company, Air France is phasing out its B747-400s, beginning with its three B747-400ER freighters, closing a Paris cargo centre at Orly and laying off 2,800 staff next year.
"We don't really need them (B747-400s) any more since we have a really large fleet of passenger aircraft," said Air France spokesman Jean-Claude Raynaud.
The 747-400s will be phased out gradually until the beginning of 2016, leaving Air France with two B777 freighters and a large fleet of B777ER passenger aircraft.
"These passenger aircraft offer us enough capacity in the belly-holds to satisfy our cargo demands," Mr Raynaud told Atlanta area Air Cargo World. "The cargo market is not as good as it used to be, so demand for additional capacity is not there."
Air France is also phasing out older aircraft to make room for new ones that will arrive on the market in 2016, he says.
"This is just a natural process at all airlines. Most of the fleet is leased, so it will return a lot of the aircraft. Air France will try to sell the two freighters it owns," he said.
In a year, the airline is closing a small cargo warehouse at Paris Orly Airport, reports Atlanta area Air Cargo World. About 90 per cent of Air France activity takes place at Charles De Gaulle Airport and its operation at Orly consists mostly of flights to the French West Indies.
Paris Orly's cargo warehouse mainly caters to freight going in the bellyhold of aircraft bound for the West Indies. Instead of maintaining this warehouse, Air France can just truck cargo from Charles de Gaulle to Paris Orly 40 kilometres away. "There's no sense in maintaining this warehouse," Mr Raynaud said.
A smaller freighter fleet will suffice for Air France, he said. In the past, the airline carried 50 per cent of its global cargo annually on freighters - now that has dropped to 30 per cent. That's why Air France is "re-dimensioning" its freighter fleet, he said, according to the Shipping Gazette.


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