INTERVIEW “20 Minutes” interviewed Céline Lacroix, international development manager of the airline Volotea
Céline Lacroix, Head of International Development at Volotea. — Mickaël Bosredon
- Despite the debates on sobriety, there is “a very strong demand for travel” within the low-cost airline, especially to the international.
- Nevertheless, the airline, which has a strong presence in France, is anticipating changes in the industrial model.
- It also has to deal with the rise in fuel prices, which has a direct impact on the price of airline tickets. 'plane.
Spanish company whose headquarters are based in to Barcelona, Volotea operates 50% of its business in Barcelona. in France, a proportion which will increase to 60% next year. “Of the 11.7 million seats we will offer in 2023, there will be 6.5 million in France” announced this week Céline Lacroix, head of international development at Volotea, traveling to Paris. Bordeaux to mark the launch of two new lines, Héraklion (from April 29) and Calvi (from May 6).
Volotea operates 224 routes in France, including 62 domestic routes, “making us the second airline after Air France in terms of the number of domestic flights” continues Céline Lacroix. The company employs 1,750 people, including 700 in France. 20 Minutes interviewed the head of international development, to discuss the situation of air transport and low cost.
The low cost model is picking up better than traditional companies, how can you explain it?
For Volotea in any case, we have been very fast and very agile from the takeover in June 2020, since we took the gamble of transforming our network into an almost totally domestic network, because there were many restrictions and the people were still afraid to travel to abroad. This allowed us to recover 80% of the traffic by 2020. Then, we gradually evolved; towards a return to internationally, depending on demand, and in discussion with each airport.
How will this evolve?
< p>It’s complicated, as we make our plans year by year based on airports and opportunities. But we will always remain on a ratio of around 60% at the end of the year. international, for which there is always strong demand, and 40% domestic. Everything will depend on the context, however, and we clearly saw during the Covid that we had to adapt.
We still talk a lot about sobriety, to reduce its movements, do you envisage an evolution of the tourist model?
We are all aware that we will not be able to fly tomorrow in the same way as today. It will be necessary to decarbonize the industry, and we are already working on this. on several projects, including a 100% electric plane that could carry between 9 and 19 people, with the idea of testing this technology before expanding it to include more capacity flights. We are also including 34% SAF (sustainable fuel) in our Airbus shuttle between Toulouse and Hamburg-Finkenwerder, and we hope to be able to include it very quickly in our commercial flights. We have been recognized as the company that has reduced its CO2 emissions the most since 2019, by around 14%, thanks in particular to the renewal of our aircraft fleet. We also take care to fill our planes at more than 90%, which allows us to reduce our CO2 emissions. We are working a lot on connectivity, with the idea of only offering direct lines, i.e. without going through a hub. But as far as traffic is concerned, there is still a very strong demand for travel, whether for leisure or personal travel, for example to visit family. On the other hand, it may be necessary to anticipate a decrease in business traffic at the end of the day. the favor of teleworking and videoconferencing.
The price of kerosene remains very high. with consequences on ticket prices, this is likely to continue, how are you going to absorb this increase?
Fuel for any airline is an important part of our costs. This year, we were not able to fully compensate for this increase, and we had to implement ticket price increases. But in fact, it depends a lot on the lines and the periods… It’s obviously a worrying situation, but we remain optimistic as there is still demand, and we continue to grow. open new rows.
Are the very low prices offered by low cost companies still tenable?
I think so. For example, we start our rates at 29 euros, imagine that we have to add four euros to this price due to the increase in fuel, we will still remain very competitive.