easyJet Chief Executive, Ray Webster, yesterday called for Air France and Alitalia to hand-over 35,000 slots per year at the principal Paris airports of Orly and Charles de Gaulle to guarantee that meaningful competition exists between France and Italy once an alliance is approved.
The two airlines currently account for 82% of the capacity on the top ten routes from Paris to Italy.
Air France and Alitalia together have 60 return flights per day from Paris to the top ten Italian destinations. Other airlines currently have 13 return flights per day. Assuming that the two airlines should not represent more than 50% of the future market, then slots for a total of 120 daily return flights should be made available. This equates to an extra 47 return flights per day, or some 35,000 slots per year.
The European Commission is currently examining the case.
Speaking at the launch of easyJet services from Paris Orly to Toulouse on Tuesday 1 July, Ray said:
“We have always maintained that there are too many airlines in Europe and we welcome attempts to bring rationalisation to the sector. However, this must be to the benefit of the consumer and the European Commission must demand that sufficient remedies are put in place when two dominant airlines form an alliance.
“It would be an outrage if Air France and Alitalia were allowed to continue their monopoly on routes from Paris to Italy following an alliance. We will be writing to the European Commission to demand that Air France and Alitalia combined have no more than 50% of the capacity on the biggest routes. This means they will have to give up about 35,000 slots per year. If the airlines are unwilling to give up this many slots then the remedy is simple - disallow the alliance. The consumer must be protected.”