Fuel prices must be down because people are launching all business class airlines again. I blogged about London based Odyssey airlines last month. (Still unsure if they have a chance or not). At a Manhattan news conference last Tuesday, LaCompagnie was launched. The company has raised approximately $US41 million) from investors and is the brainchild of a former executive of India’s Jet Airways Peter Luethi and Frantz Yvelin, the founder of a previous all business class airline L’AVION.
Using a single Boeing 757 with 74 lie flat seats, LaCompagnie will fly between Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Newark, New Jersey which will give access to both the Northern New Jersey and NYC markets. Newark is on the Amtrak East Coast rail line with a station located close by. The Newark flights will depart at 9:45 p.m. arriving in Paris the next day and the Paris flight will leave at 5:50pm.
Each seat will have a Samsung Galaxy tablet with movies and music and, eventually, newspapers, magazines, and meal menus on the tablets. Passengers on the Paris to Newark flights will be provided with a four-course lunch. On the reverse flights back to France, the airline is promising a late-night “snack”. All meals will be served, with champagne (of course) and wine. The meals are being created by chef Christophe Langrée.
All this will cost between $1,800 and $4,600 for a return trip, with three fare types all with different levels of flexibility. These fares are about 30 percent to 50 percent below current business-class fares on the same route. The airline is currently selling an introductory round trip fare for $2,406 for two people from Paris to Newark on its website in France.
The airline is waiting for Federal Aviation Administration approval which it expects to receive later this month and the first flight will take to teh skies on 11th July. The English language website is not yet up and running (I assume that is linked to its waiting for approval).
So how is LaCompagnie and different to Eos, MAXjet Airways and Silverjet, business class only airlines that flew between Europe and the US seven years ago and all vanished. co-founder Peter Luethi says “The time is different today—it is a different marketplace. We are convinced this is going to work,” Thats Good. Otherwise, why launch?
Sadly, the world is littered with people who had planes, logos, routes and an idea they were convinced was going to work. Will LaCompagnie be any different? Air France, American, Delta, Openskies and United all ply the New York to Paris route. In addition to them all having a business class product, they also have frequent flier programs, a network of partners and extensive feeder routes. LaCompagnie doesn’t.