French Airports Join Forces to Promote Regions

Four French airports have joined forces at this years’ Routes Europe event in Aberdeen to promote and grow their airports.

Bergerac, Montpellier, Strasbourg and Lille have all joined together in a marketing move to stand out among the rest, with not only an impressive stand, but an impressive viewpoint.

“We can’t compete with the big airports, but we do have our personalities,” said Emily James, Head of Marketing and Route Development at Bergerac Airport.

Bergerac is the smallest airport in terms of passengers among the four airports, though the region is loved by the British and offers a total of eleven connections to the UK alone.

Although the region is predominantly a holiday destination, it still attracts a number of tourists from across Europe: “Although we are just a holiday destination, we are still a destination,” said Emily James.

Montpellier is one of the fastest growing airports in France, ranking third overall in 2013, and sixth overall for 2014.

The airport has a record number of destinations for summer 2015, offering 26 overall, including Amsterdam from KLM daily, and Marrakech from Air Arabia Maroc operating twice weekly.

The airport will also see a weekly year-round to Trogir operated by Air Arabia Maroc, while Air France is increasing frequency on its route to Paris Orly.

“We have more and more year-round services, which is sending a positive message to airlines as we have the capacity for year-round operations,” said Pascal Bigot, Route Development Manager, Montpellier Mediterranee Airport.

The airport’s target is to expand on its current domestic market offering as well as expanding new services to main hubs. “We want to connect Montpellier and the region to the world,” added Bigot.

Lille airport has seen a boost in profit in recent years, with a 15 percent increase over the past four years.

The airport has a long-term vision to extend its partnerships with carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet, and has conducted a number of marketing studies to understand the potential of new routes to a number of European destinations including Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Morocco and Turkey.

According to Pierre Fernemont, Marketing and Development Manager for Aeroport de Lille, the airport is also looking for a potential alternative between Brussels and Paris.

“We have a catchment area of 8 million passengers which makes up 12 percent of the French population,” he added.

Spanish airline, Volotea has very recently announced it will open its third base in Strasbourg – the fourth airport in the French group at Routes Europe. The airline will operate a total of 11 routes, eight of which are domestic, and three of which are to Italian destinations including Venice, Palermo and Olbia.

Strasbourg has seen a huge increase in the number of low-cost carriers operating from the airport, helping to convert it from one of the most expensive airports in France to one of the least expensive.

The airport has seen a number of successes with new airlines including Ryanair and easyJet, and has transitioned from a “regular business model” to an airport with a fast progression, according to Thomas Debus, Strasbourg Airport Director.

“Strasbourg is attractive in both the summer and the winter which makes it the perfect destination for tourists. In winter we have the Christmas markets, and in summer we have the weather and beautiful leisure parks. There is always something to see and something to do,” he added.

Poppy Marello

Poppy joined the Routesonline team after successfully completing a degree in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. Poppy has a passion for…