Summary of our market study

The number of passengers carried in France is around 140 million

The global market expects a record 5 billion passengers in 2024.

The global air transport market faced a significant slowdown from 2020 onwards due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 60% drop in passenger segment revenues. While air freight revenues rose by 8.2% in 2020, this did not compensate for the loss of passenger revenues.

Competition between airlines in France remained intense, with low-cost carriers such as EasyJet and Transavia expanding their presence.

Prior to the crisis, the market had seen steady growth in air traffic, with the most dynamic passenger routes forecast to be Caribbean-Middle East and Central America-Middle East.

The global industry has recovered and surpassed its pre-crisis health levels

Dynamic demand for air transport

The air transport market flourishes in times of economic prosperity, and withers in times of financial recession. France, with its position as the world's leading tourist destination, has seen its air travel market soar. However, the unforeseen turbulence of COVID-19 caused revenues to plummet, cutting the sector's previous record by 60% in 2020.

The French market, although hard hit, particularly in the passenger division with sales down by over 55%, managed to stay afloat. The cargo segment fared relatively better, with sales down by around 37%.

The bulk of French air traffic is made up of international passengers, who accounted for almost 80% of all air travellers.

In France, activity originating in Paris accounts for over 60% of air passengers.

Europeans accounted for 65% of the country's air passengers, followed by the African continent, which attracted around 14%.

Spain, the UK and Portugal are the most popular destinations.

Some market players

The air transport market is a vast and complex sector, comprising a range of airlines with different business models and market strategies, from historic giants to nimble low-cost challengers.

  • The giants: Air France KLM, a leading airline group that has long established its dominance in the French market
  • Low-cost pioneers: EasyJet and Ryanair, Transavia, a subsidiary of the Air France KLM group
  • Air freight specialists: FedEx Express and Cargolux.
  • Charter flight specialists: TUI
  • Regional flight specialists: Corsair
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The air transport market covers the entire transport of passengers or freight by air. Although the bulk of air transport is carried out by airlines operating between several airports, there are several types of air carriers: scheduled airlines (local-regional, domestic or international carriers), airline alliances and low-cost carriers.

By 2019, more than 4.5 billion passengers had been transported worldwide, a figure up almost 3.8% on 2018, as well as 61.3 million tonnes of freight. The French market has also been buoyed by this international growth and is benefiting from its position as 1 e international tourist destination to develop the international axes. However, the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis have been significant and the sector has seen a 60% drop in revenue in 2020.

The air transport market is characterized by a large number of players and strong competition since the arrival of low-cost carriers in France, such as EasyJet and Transavia, which continue to gain ground.

The main issues in the air transport market today are managing the economic and financial consequences of Covid-19, as well as the evolution of the various ancillary services offered to consumers (meals, wifi, insurance, baggage, etc.) in order to increase passengers' perception of the value of the journeys they make.


List of charts presented in this market study

  • Evolution du chiffre d'affaires du marché du transport aérien, par segment
  • Evolution de la croissance du chiffre d'affaires du marché du transport aérien par continent
  • Croissance estimée du trafic aérien dans certaines régions du monde, par segment
  • Evolution du chiffre d'affaires du marché du transport aérien, par segment
  • Répartition du trafic aérien par nature des flux et destinations
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Latest news

Aviation: Volotea wins the Strasbourg-Berlin public service delegation contract - 20/11/2023
  • Volotea launches a new route between Strasbourg and Berlin on Monday November 20.
  • Volotea has been present in Strasbourg since 2012, accounting for three-quarters of all routes.
  • Volotea plans to serve 29 destinations by 2024.
  • The company expects to have around one million seats and some 6,000 flights by 2024.
  • Volotea's operations account for 70 direct jobs and almost 400 indirect jobs.
  • In 2023, the airline experienced significant growth in Strasbourg with 22 destinations and offered 745,000 seats, an increase of almost 10% on 2022 and 41% on 2019.
Air Antilles saved, Air Guyane closed. - 03/10/2023
  • The Commercial Court of Pointe-à-Pitre has validated the partial takeover of the Caire airline group by Cipim (holding company of the Edéis group) in association with the local authority of Saint-Martin.
  • The takeover concerns routes operated by Air Antilles.
  • The business operated under the name Air Guyane is not affected by the takeover.
  • Of the 300 or so employees at Caire, 176 have been made redundant.
Air Antilles saves itself in extremis, Air Guyane disappears - 03/10/2023
  • Air Guyane goes into liquidation
  • Of the 215 employees of Air Antilles, 98 will lose their jobs (31 in Martinique and 67 in Guadeloupe).
  • The new Air Antilles entity, renamed "New Air Antilles", will initially be limited to operating 4 ATRs.
  • The new Air Antilles company will be 60% owned by the local authority and 40% by Cipim, the holding company of Edeis, which manages 16 regional airports in France.
Corsica: low-cost carrier Volotea threatens the duopoly of Air Corsica and Air France in Corsica - 09/08/2023
  • On July 13, Volotea applied for the tender launched every four years by the Corsican Transport Office (OTC).
  • This concerns the award of the 2024-2027 air public service delegation, on routes between Paris-Orly and Marseille and Ajaccio and Bastia.
  • Volotea represents 80% of the overall offer on the island of Corsica, with 29 destinations served.
  • 65% of Air Corsica's capital is held by the Collectivité de Corse and 14% by Air France.
Air Antilles and Air Guyane in the eye of the storm - 04/08/2023
  • The Caire group, which includes the airlines Air Guyane Express and Air Antilles Express, has been placed in compulsory liquidation.
  • The Caire group has 300 employees.
Volotea relaunches its flights. - 27/06/2023
  • 10.5 to 11 million passengers expected in 2023
  • 7.6 million passengers in 2019 (last year before the pandemic)
  • Ryanair (167 million passengers in 2022-2023)
  • easyJet (70 million in 2021-2022)
  • 420 routes opened by Volotea, 235 of which were not previously served by any airline.
  • French domestic market leader in terms of number of routes (61, compared with 58 for Air France).
  • Over 6 million seats in France (the company's biggest market).
  • 41 aircraft in operation.
  • Sales forecast for this year: close to 700 million euros (vs. 441 million in 2019).

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Air France
British Airways
Eurowings (Lufthansa group)
American Airlines
Singapore Airlines

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