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Laurent Magnin: "There is no question of leaving the West Indies!"

Interview with CEO of XL Airways


We through he was weakened by the losses of his company and entangled in difficulties with Guadeloupe and Martinique. But Laurent Magnin, CEO of XL Airways has not lost his confidence. While he wants to gradually abandon all medium-haul flights due to lack of profitability, he wants to perpetuate his long flights to the United States and of course the Caribbean. Even if that means adjusting some of his program.



TourMaG.com - You lost money last year. Are you worried about the future of your business

The United States flights are working well, without the help of tour operators, who have not taken a single seat in New York in particular - DR: CE
The United States flights are working well, without the help of tour operators, who have not taken a single seat in New York in particular - DR: CE
Laurent Magnin: "We launched six long-haul lines and this negative result was expected in our development plan.

Our fiscal year has been met.

Of course, it does not make me happy to lose so much money, but it seems consistent with our flight openings.

Moreover in 2014, we should also be in a slight deficit, which is also expected.

We will work to sustain our new lines before settling in new airports."

TourMaG.com - What is the future of XL's medium-haul flight?

Laurent Magnin: "This activity is not profitable. It has no more significance at the economic and strategic level.

It is its poor health that explains the decrease in our number of passengers. We will stop it gradually.

However, we must keep our two B 737, still in leasing for 4 years.

Let’s not forget that Héliades is the first charterer of our winter medium-haul fleet."

TourMaG.com - How is your business doing in the United States?

Laurent Magnin: "This is a destination that works well, without the help of any tour operators, who have not reserved a single seat for New York in particular.

Our prices are similar to those of companies that offer flights with stopovers.

However, I remain cautious about the season timing and I would not hesitate to change my program accordingly.

September and October are difficult months as Americans leave little during this period.

Besides, I stop New York flights earlier (September 6) to position my aircraft on the pilgrimage to the Mecca.

Because while the French are willing to pay high prices on school holidays, this is not the case in other periods. "

TourMaG.com - Is this one of the reasons for your problems on the Caribbean?

Laurent Magnin: "Indeed, the Caribbean low season was a disaster. The yield never fell so low with prices down to $299 that would not sell.

Traffic growth was not enough to compensate for the added flight options.

The real winners are the West Indians, even though there were few on our flights (contrary to our predictions announced at the inauguration).

Indeed, it is not easy to impose a new player on a long-haul line, people from the French Overseas departments remain cautious. However, we were successful on the tourism sector.

Because despite all these difficulties, we will not stop working on the Caribbean.

We will look for solutions to adapt in the low season. Maybe through a double touch, as we did already in May and June."

TourMaG.com - Why did you resign from the presidency of SCARA and register XL at the FNAM?

Laurent Magnin: "The company was already a member of the FNAM when I took over.

But following a disagreement on the issue of baggage sorting, I left to devote myself entirely to SCARA, in which I was also registered.

For some time, I was working for reconciliation with FNAM, in order to have a single representative who interacts with the government.

A position which was not to everyone's liking. So I resigned and went back to FNAM.

I believe that the federation has the financial and structural means to defend our interests in the current context.

Not to mention that it is now much more less dependent on Air France than in the past."

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 11/06/2014
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