• Joe Breitfeller

Will French Bee Buzz Right Into the Hearts of Greater New York Area Passengers?

Updated: Jan 8, 2020

Last week, Paris based low-cost-carrier French Bee announced that they will begin flights from Newark Liberty to Paris-Orly starting June 10, 2020. The route will be operated with Airbus A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft.

French Bee Airbus A330-300 Vertical Stabilizer - Courtesy Airbus

Normally the announcement of a new route isn’t particularly newsworthy, but when French Bee started taking reservations last week for one-way fares from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Paris-Orly (ORY), for as little as $139, it piqued our interest. With Norwegian Air struggling and the collapse of WOW last March, the international low-cost-carrier (LCC) business model has been challenging.

Company Background

Founded in 2016, French Bee is part of the airline division of the Dubreuil Group, a French conglomerate with interests in the automobile, energy, materials, agricultural machinery and hotel industries. French Bee isn’t the company’s first foray into commercial air transportation, as the company founded European regional carrier Air Vendée in 1975, later renamed Regional Airlines in 1991, before being acquired by Air France in 2000. In addition to French Bee, the Dubreuil Group also owns Air Caraïbes, founded in 2020 by Jean-Paul Dubreuil, which offers service from Paris-Orly to Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, Haiti, Saint-Martin, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas.

French Bee

Currently, French Bee offers service from Paris-Orly to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Reunion Island (Indian Ocean), Tahiti and San Francisco. The San Francisco route was opened in May of 2018, so Newark Liberty will be the company’s second U.S. gateway.

Since 2019, the company has operated an all Airbus A350 Fleet, having transferred their original A330-300’s to Air Caraïbes. In the company's September 18th Press Release

French Bee President Marc Rochet stated,

“Paris is a popular destination for all types of travelers: tourists, families and business customers. On this route, we are convinced that price remains a decisive factor. Thanks to our robust model, solid finances and the unparalleled performance of our A350-900 fleet, we are able to offer flights at extremely competitive prices and in optimal comfort conditions. We are ready to meet the competitive challenge of this New York-Paris route.”

French Bee will operate the flight daily, departing Newark Liberty (EWR) at 6:15PM and arriving Paris-Orly (ORY) at 7:30AM the next morning. Likewise, the Orly-Paris flight will depart at 2:00 PM, arriving Newark Liberty at 4:14PM.

The company will offer three levels of service on the route including “Basic,” “Smart,” and “Premium” and trips can be further customized with additional products and services. The Basic fare, starting at $139.00 one-way includes one free carry-on bag up to 12 kg (26.5 lbs.). The Smart fare starts at $209.00 one-way and includes a meal as well as a 23 kg (50.7 lb.) checked baggage allowance. The Premium fare starts at $469 one-way and includes two large checked bags, premium “Blue Class Maxi-Leg” seating, a meal and a snack.

Although not as busy as New York-London, the New York-Paris route is among the most travelled to Europe, so we have no doubt that there will be substantial demand on French Bee’s new Newark-Orly route. Only time will tell if the fares will remain this low, but for those lucky enough to book now, the value is tremendous. Let’s hope the price of Jet-A fuel continues to stabilize, so the company can operate the route profitably.

Source: French Bee


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