Transavia makes UK debut in pan-European growth strategy

On the eve of this year’s Routes Europe air service development forum, Transavia showcased its development ambitions to become a major pan-European low-cost operator after it launched new routes into the UK market from the French capital.

Although the Air France-KLM Group low-cost brand has previously served the UK market from the Netherlands, the new links from Paris Orly into England and Scotland’s capital cities by its Transavia France operation represent its first ever flights between France and the UK.

The new routes took-off for the first time on April 22, 2016 and Transavia France is offering 12 weekly links (twice daily on weekdays) to London Luton and a four times weekly offering to Edinburgh using 189-seat Boeing 737-800 equipment. The airline will open reservations next week for the continuation of both routes through the winter 2016/2017 schedule.

The UK expansion is part of Transavia’s goal to establish itself among the largest low-fare carriers in Europe. It is already well known in its home market in the Netherlands and in France but it is now seeking to grow in other European countries as it aims to establish itself as a pan-European airline brand.

The airline has recently opened a base in Munich to grow its activities in Germany and is understood to be exploring further growth markets. “We want to take a place in the top five of Pan European low-cost carriers. This means we’ll have to grow considerably in the coming years, but we have made a good start this summer as we see a growth of 20 percent,” Jeroen Erdman, head of network planning, Transavia told Routesonline in an exclusive interview ahead of Routes Europe.

“We have a constant focus on cost and will be bringing unit cost down by a further 15 percent in the next three years, alongside plans to extend our network into Europe with the opening of multiple new bases outside the Netherlands and France,” he added.

Transavia will offer more than 140,000 seats into the UK market this summer and will face competition in both the Edinburgh – Paris and London – Paris city pair markets from established operators with stronger brand presence in the UK. However, it is confident both routes will prove successful and will be supported by a stronger focus on business travel.

The London route has been based on “a strong business case and research,” according to the Transavia network team, while there has been growing demand for connectivity to the French capital from Scotland and Transavia believes it can generate a sustainable operation.

"2016 is a year of strong growth for Transavia. The opening of these two new destinations is part of our strategy to expand our development in Northern Europe,” said Hervé Kozar, chief commercial officer, Transavia.

“Our first flights London Luton-Paris Orly and Edinburgh-Paris Orly, aim at offering city breakers the enchantments of discovering Paris and business travellers an attractive fares with a valuable service,” he added.

The flights will operate from Paris Orly, the busiest French airport for domestic traffic and the second busiest French airport overall in terms of passengers. Located eight miles South of Paris, it’s the closest airport to the city centre of the French capital. It specialises in point-to-point traffic to metropolitan destinations, Europe, North Africa and overseas.

Its is over five-and-a-half years since Transavia last served the UK market after it ended flights between Rotterdam and London. These had initially served Stansted, but switched to Luton in October 2008 after they had been suspended during the summer 2008 schedule and then moved to Gatwick in November 2009 before the route was closed in October 2010.

The airline also served the Scotland market during the previous decade with flights between Amsterdam and Glasgow Prestwick between March 2006 and October 2007, according to schedule data from OAG.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…