in Air Transport

INTRO Aviation partners Corsair for future growth

Posted 22 March 2019 · Add Comment

Convinced of the growth and development potential of the French long-haul airline Corsair, INTRO Aviation, the German private aviation company, has decided to become the main shareholder, alongside TUI group. The announcement was made this week in Paris.

Diamondale, an Irish company has acquired 100% of Corsair’s shares. INTRO Aviation holds 53%, TUI Group 27% and 20% are reserved for Corsair employees and held through a dedicated foundation (Stichting). INTRO Aviation and TUI Group have committed to remain shareholders for at least three years.

Intro Aviation will continue the airline’s development with existing staff. Corsair employees have got guarantees that there will be no job decrease nor job cuts over 24 months and no transfer of staff. Commitments have been also taken not to terminate any collective agreement during the same period. 

“We need the staff in this journey. We want them to be empowered to support management in the restructuration project”, underlined Peter Oncken, Managing Partner of INTRO Aviation.  Transparency and good governance are also very important elements.

Explaining the reason behind this acquisition, Oncken told African Aerospace that Corsair has a specific positioning focused on long-haul and strong markets, a diversified network and shows big opportunities.  “Corsair needs to grow at a sustainable level of operational capacity.”

A sustainable ambitious growth project has thus been developed to tackle the major dual fleet problem faced by Corsair. It aims at developing an Airbus-only modern fleet to reach 13 aircraft by 2023 in two phases:  a first until 2021 with the phase out of the B747 as soon as possible, each one being replaced by two A330s to avoid any capacity cut. A lease contract for three A330-900neos was signed on March 15th for commissioning by 2021. Three other A330s will be incorporated as part of the withdrawal of the B747.

The second phase will bring three additional aircraft to Corsair’s fleet between 2021 and 2023. The streamlining of the fleet with a single aircraft type will bring significant improvements: synergies and reduced costs, increased operation efficiency, opening of new routes and refurbished cabins and enhanced customer experience. This new fleet will enable Corsair to further consolidate its existing assets: a brand with a strong reputation and on which INTRO Aviation wishes to capitalise and a tri-class positioning.  This configuration will maintained on the new fleet as the Business class offer launched in 2017 met with great success.

Corsair will concentrate on high-volume traffic destinations and increase flight frequencies on core business destinations like Abidjan. The growth potential of Orly, a highly valued and easy-to-access airport remains significant given the portfolio of existing slots. In addition, modernisation works of the terminal will significantly improve the quality of customer journey. This project will also allow Corsair to benefit from a much more efficient flight program and expand its network by opening new destinations that are under study including Russia. Talks with Camair-Co have not progressed but Corsair remains optimistic and open to all development prospects. The African market has a lot of potential but lack of confidence or fear in open sky is preventing it to fully unblock it.

CDG airport can also open new opportunities why not through future partnerships. “We have to look beyond Orly. The industry changes very fast. ” But, first the company has to renew its fleet, create awareness as Peter Oncken rightly puts forth, and see what the market says beyond 2021/2022. The company looks more than ever determined to strengthen its role in the market with its new partner. Pascal de Izaguirre, Chairman and CEO, said: "Corsair is planning a new phase of development. The implementation of a fleet growth plan for 13 aircraft will enable us to achieve required critical size to consolidate our position as a major player in the long-haul market. I am sure of the success of our future collaboration with the INTRO Aviation teams, with the support of the company's staff and the commitment they have always shown. "

On his part, Peter Oncken expressed his confidence in Corsair’s potential. "Corsair is a solid and robust company. The renewal of the B747s and the move to a single fleet will be decisive for Corsair's future. By combining the expertise of INTRO Aviation's teams and the professionalism of Corsair's teams, we have all the skills to find ways of improvement that will ensure the long-term future and development of the company. "

Corsair will benefit from the expertise of the INTRO Aviation teams and a more agile and responsive environment that will speed up and simplify the decision process. Corsair carries 1,200,000 passengers and 17 000 tonnes of freight per year. Corsair International operates scheduled flights to the Caribbean (Guadeloupe and Martinique), the Indian Ocean (Reunion Island, Mauritius), Africa (Ivory Coast and Mali), Canada (Montreal) and Cuba (Havana).

The airline is launching its Miami route next June.  It will serve Montreal on a yearly basis as from summer. After a M470 Euros turnover in 2017-2018, Corsair expects to reach financial stability this year. 


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