La Compagnie Is Moving To Paris Orly (From Charles De Gaulle)

La Compagnie is the all business class transatlantic airline that started flying in mid-2014. They operate flights between Newark and Paris using Boeing 757 aircraft (though they plan to replace those planes with A321neo aircraft in 2019). I reviewed La Compagnie back when they first launched operations a few years ago. They also briefly flew between New York and London, though ended up canceling that route.

While La Compagnie doesn’t have the best business class product, I give them credit for the excellent value they offer customers. They consistently have attractive business class fares, which are much lower than what’s offered by any airline in the market.

The airline has stabilized their operations, and reports having load factors around 80%, or so. That’s impressive, and they’ve been able to make their business model work, at least in the current environment, where oil prices are low and the economy is fairly good.

The airline also seems to have given up growth aspirations, at least in the short term. Originally they were considering all kinds of routes, including flights to Asia, as well as flights from the West Coast to Europe. The airline still only operates a fleet of two 757s, and they offer 1-2x daily flights between Newark and Paris.

At the moment La Compagnie operates out of Paris Charles de Gaulle, which is Paris’ largest airport. Per air-journal.fr, La Compagnie has announced their intentions to switch some Paris operations from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Orly Airport as of summer 2018.

The airline hasn’t yet revealed the exact date the change will happen, but will communicate that to passengers in the coming weeks. Apparently La Compagnie has been wanting to move to Paris Orly Airport for a long time, but there weren’t any available slots. Now that airberlin has gone out of business, some slots have been made available, and 10 weekly slots have been allocated to La Compagnie.

The catch is that 10x weekly slots might not be enough to cover their demand year-round. In winter La Compagnie only operates 7-9x weekly frequencies, while in summer they offer up to 13x weekly frequencies. So it’s possible that we’ll see them operating some flights out of Orly and others out of Charles de Gaulle, which seems quite inefficient. At that point I wonder if they’d just cut frequencies to stay within their Orly slot limit.

Still, overall I see their draw to Orly. I assume the airport has lower fees, so I imagine they’d be saving money (aside from the lack of synergies from potentially operating out of both Paris airports). Beyond that, the airline notes Orly’s proximity to the city, the fact that it’s a more manageable to use, and the potential additional connection opportunities this opens up to other airlines.

Does La Compagnie switching from Charles de Gaulle to Orly make you more or less likely to fly with them?

Comments

  1. CDG is one of the worst airport in the world, but ORY is really ghetto!
    The only advantage of ORY over CDG is the proximity by car.

  2. Also, I thought IAG’s Open Skies was discontinuing operations from Newark to Orly in 2018 so couldn’t La Compagnie take over those slots possibly?

  3. @ JC — LEVEL will be starting flights out of Paris Orly, so I imagine they’ll be taking OpenSkies’ slots.

  4. Lucky, what’s your take on ORY? I have never been to ORY despite having been a passenger to or from 149 airports. I’m trying to break the 200 mark but it will be awhile. Consider adding a picture of the terminal and/or check-in counters when you do your reviews.

  5. Big mistake, they are losing business from any passengers connecting from CDG to other places and will be relying solely on traffic from New York to ORY.

  6. Some 20 years ago AA flew to Orly instead of CDG. Orly shares four qualities with LGA: it’s close, small and dumpy — ideal, in other words.

    Every time I go to CDG, I miss it.

  7. just by pure random luck i have an upcoming JFK-LIS-ORY (first time to that airport), so I guess i can get a picture of it soon

    but I’ve been through other city-center airports like GMP and SHA (both as international arrivals), so I guess my expectation should be “old, worn out, ultra fast lines, and rather limited amenities and concession stands” – with easy city access being the only plus

    but i have to give CDG some credit though ….. once you figure out the RER system. Even from the far-away business district of LA DEFENSE, it’s 3 stops on RER-A (like ~12 mins), simple transfer at CHATELET LES HALLES, then either ~30 mins near-nonstop service or ~42 mins local service to CDG.

  8. You can find a lot of small businesses within 10-15km of Orly, and a lot of businessmen who don’t want to cross Paris to fly from CDG.
    That’s La Compagnie’s market imho. In CDG, they compete with AF. Not in ORY, just Openskies.

  9. I flew into ORY last year for the first time; the other three times to PAR were through CDG. ORY is the epitome of a rural airport and I found the train ride to the city to be even more cumbersome than from CDG which is fast and easy, especially late at night. I would never choose ORY over CDG unless the price was significantly lower.

  10. ORY is infinitely better than CDG1 which is where La Compagnie flies into at CDG. It’s a quick (20 minute cab ride) from pretty much anywhere on the left bank. While the public transport to and from ORY isn’t as good as the RER to CDG, the fact that the RER goes into CDG2 and then you have to take a shuttle bus to CDG1 that adds on at least 15 minutes, plus the hassle of transferring with luggage. And then you have to deal with the dreadful “camembert”.

    We took a chance on La Compagnie for upcoming flights to Paris despite the fact that both Newark and CDG are much more difficult to get to from our home in Brooklyn and our apartment in Paris. But the price was right ($1000 rt). When we booked there were two flights offered, we chose the later flights departing EWR at 9:30pm and ORY at 2:30pm. Wouldn’t you know it but last week they cancelled both the outgoing and return flights and offered us the earlier ones. The departing flight leaves at 7:30 which his impossible for us to make that day and the return flight departs at 10:30 which means we’ll need to travel at the height of rush hour to get to CDG. Needless to say, when I wrote back to them, they sort of wrote the equivalent of a Gallic shrug and said that they would refund our money if we preferred. That doesn’t really help because airfares have gone up substantially since we booked those flights so we’re kind of screwed. Bait and switch is the best way to describe what they did. So I don’t think that they have gotten their act together and would not fly them again even if they go into ORY. BTW, we flew many times with L’Avion, the original all business class airline that was bought out by BA and became Open Skies. That was our introduction to ORY and we have since avoided CDG when we can, especially since Air France now has one flight a day from JFK to ORY.

  11. @ Dave – Canada — Tom is exactly right in comparing ORY to LGA. It’s overcrowded and poorly maintained, but it is conveniently-sized.

  12. @john they rely on local traffic and have no interline agreements. Since CDG is a skyteam hub connecting passengers are flying Air France,KLM, Delta etc.
    AF also flies from Orly – New York with a far superior product and they are also building a new lounge there I hear

  13. IMHO, all French airports are sub-par, so I look for a substantial discount to use any of them on trans-atlantic flights. ORY is convenient to Central Paris by car/taxi, particularly on the left bank, but totally useless on public transport with multiple connections, and a lack of lifts and escalators if you have luggage. Immigration is relatively efficient, but transfers from non-schengen locations to trans-atlantic flights often still require immigration processing in and out of France.

    I have only flown La Compagnie from Luton to Newark (for those unfamiliar with Luton, it is a low cost airport as close to London as Philly is to EWR). Their hard product is like business class from the 90’s (better than Premium Economy, but nowhere near J class elsewhere), and their soft product isn’t particularly compelling, but their sale prices are only marginally more than economy on other airlines. So if you are close to the airport, they are worth consideration.

    If flying from a non-Paris location, I’d be looking at Norwegian’s pointy end product first.

  14. I use Orly all the time to fly between Paris and Toulouse. AF has a shuttle service “La Navette” with 30 minute frequencies throughout much of the day, where as CDG may have 3 or 4 flights.

    While I haven’t flown transatlantic in or out of ORY in 20 years, and am really only familiar with the shuttle pier out of the West terminal, I can say that I vastly prefer ORY to CDG.

    I understand the LGA comparisons but ORY is still better… at least there is public transit via rail (a 6 min airport shuttle train connects to the same RER line that goes to CDG,) and as others have noted, access to the airport by road is much better from most parts of Paris than CDG.

    ORY may be dumpy but it’s on par with LGA C or D (sans iPads at gates.) LGA B is still several orders of magnitude worse.

  15. @ Lucky:

    La Compagnie should be fine in Orly as long as they can operate from Orly-Sud (South). The Orly -Ouest (West) terminal is pure hell for those (very few) passengers arriving from Non-Shengen origins (i.e outside a zone of the European Union where there are no more passport controls and customs formalities).

    Orly-Ouest was created as a purely domestic terminal some 45 years ago and the immigration and customs zone is a crowded disaster which is bad enough to make me avoid Openskies, the (bad anyway) BA affiliate which flies the same route as La Compagnie but has always used Orly.

    Eventually, the distinction between Orly-Sud and Orly-Ouest will vanish as both terminals are being merged into one by construction linking the two, but work is far from over. Also, that La Compagnie is being merged into the large Leisure airline XL Airways (although they keep a distinct marketing identity) obviously makes the case for consolidating in Orly. Therefore, Lucky your concern about slots is not warranted in the long run.

    If La Compagnie (and we can count on the Moulin Family, owners of both La Compagnie and Galeries Lafayette for this) manages to keep a good service and image, it will have great potential and synergies with XL.

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