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Tunisair is reducing its wing span to fly better in 2014

The company expects a growth of 5% on the French market




Slaheddine Blidi director of Tunisair France is very optimistic about the recovery of his company’s activity. Photo LAC
Slaheddine Blidi director of Tunisair France is very optimistic about the recovery of his company’s activity. Photo LAC
After three difficult years, the Tunisair company is finally getting back in shape.

Enjoying a renewed interest from French travelers on the destination (see our article on Djerba), the first figures of the year are very encouraging.

A situation that Slaheddine Blidi, the General Director of Tunisair France, prides himself for.

"We’re starting the summer with great optimism because market trends are positive on both our scheduled and charter activity" he ensures.

In March, all activities combined, the company recorded 106,681 passengers, an increase of 3013 passengers compared to 2013.

The company hopes to attract 1,064,000 customers in 2014.

A realistic goal given the starting trends of the year on scheduled flights.

The company has managed to improve its occupancy rate by 10 points (76%) by adjusting its capacity between January and February.

Over this period, it recorded 153,414 passengers (down 6.3 %) for 201,843 seats available (-19.2 %)

Tunisair has also changed aircrafts, substituting the A 300-600 of 263 seats by a few A320 (162 seats), A319 (144 seats) and B737 (126 seats).

It also reduced its flight schedule for the summer. Nice is losing its three flights to Monastir. Paris loses a flight to Monastir and Djerba, and two going to Sfax and Tozeur.

Lyon also loses flights serving Monastir. In Nantes, there will be three less flights to Tunis and one less to Djerba. The island also loses a flight to Bordeaux. Finally, the company will no longer serve Lille.

Tour operators start working with the company again

Concerning its charter activity, Tunisair once more shows great signs of recovery, with 1239 passengers (+90 %) for 1584 seats offered (+57 %) between January and February.

"Tour operators are beginning to get in touch with us" expresses Slaheddine Blidi.

"But they do not deal individually yet and still prefer, for the moment, to go through brokers," says Slaheddine Blidi.

These figures may seem modest, but they should be compared to those of 2013, when the traffic in terms of package tours fell by 32%, with commitments by TO on 81,220 seats.

This year, tourism professionals bought 92,918 seats (seat blocks and groups) which is a 14% increase.

The indicators are all positive, and should lead to the expected growth of 5% for the French market.

But beyond the numbers, the company still has major challenges concerning its restructuring plan.

To finalize it, Tunisair must find a new director because its current CEO, Rabah Jrad, is leaving.

The name of Jalloul Ayed, which has been circulating in the press, has not yet been officially confirmed. "We need someone who will put in place our restructuring plan successfully" hopes Slaheddine Blidi.

In fact, the company plans to send 1700 employees out on early retirement, for which the state has committed to pay 75% of the severance amount, reaching 52 million dinars (€23.7 million.)

The government will also resolve the debt Tunisair owes to the Office of Civil Aviation and Airports (OACA) amounting to 165 million dinars (€75.23 million).

A plan that should stabilize its finances and allow the company to prepare for another much talked about revolution that will take place at Brussels’ airport: opening its airways by 2017.

Written by Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher the 17/04/2014
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Tags : Tunis, Tunisair

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