, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Air Méditerranée : "Our competitor company Transavia has compromised our charter business ..."

Interview with Anthony Ferretti, Chairman of the company

After accumulating losses over the past three years, the company Air Méditerranée should become profitable in 2014. Operating income is back in the positive thanks to the good results of its Greek branch: Hermes Airlines. But this branch will not infringe on the perimeter of the historic company, which has decided to accelerate the development of its regular lines to offset the decline of the charter model.

Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translate by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 27 Février 2014

Air Méditerranée : "Our competitor company Transavia has compromised our charter business ..." : Your company Air Méditerranée went through a difficult period of reorganization, where are you now?

Antoine Ferretti: In 2013, our consolidated revenue remained stable at € 232M but the group's operating results will be positive due to the good performance of our Greek branch, Hermès Airlines.

However, Air Méditerranée should still show losses but will be profitable in 2014.

We benefit from a good visibility on our charter activity: several partners have renewed their contracts such as Fram (three years) and Go Voyages (two years). We should undertake a third TO shortly. The creation in August 2011 of your Greek branch was much talked about. What is its current scope of activity?

Antoine Ferretti: Confronting the challenges that Air Méditerranée faced at the time, we decided to rapidly develop this subsidiary in Greece, which absorbed part of our fleet services.

Today Hermes Airlines operates six aircrafts: a regular flight between Scandinavia and Iraq, two of which as charter flights and three that are under a wet-lease.

All of its 300 employees are of Greek nationality.

No French aircrew staff has ever been relocated there, contrary to what could be read in the press.

Sure, we had to organize a voluntary lay-off plan at Air Méditerranée, to adjust our workforce in the face our economic decline. But the 60 affected employees were all volunteers, there was never any compulsory redundancies. Overall, your group currently generates 33% of its business with its scheduled flights. Do you think just charter activity is no longer sufficiently profitable for a French company?

Antoine Ferretti: Our charter model has suffered, especially in the face of Transavia, which was functioning at a loss to gain shares of the market.

This behavior has compromised our business and we had to reposition ourselves as a hybrid company, even if the charter still accounts for 54 % of our business.

Yet our scheduled flights, launched in 2009 have increased in 2012 and 2013. These lines attract “the friends and family” traffic which is more stable than the tourist traffic. Before renewing your air operator certificate (AOC), the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) investigated on your financial capacities. Are you worried?

Antoine Ferretti: The audit of The DGAC is routine when a company accumulates losses. It has also been investigating three other companies.

This is to verify that the financial worries do not impact on the reliability and maintenance of our aircrafts. But I'm not worried about the renewal of our certificate on February 28.

We will then be able to continue our business and work towards our goal of $250 million in revenue in 2014.

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