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Air France toe-to-toe with the low-cost carriers

Air France toe-to-toe with the low-cost carriers
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Air France is trying to take on the low-cost airlines by introducing a series of mini-fares on domestic flights.

A reserved seat and checked-in bags are not included in the no-frills tickets that start at 49 euros.

Air France has suffered particularly at the hands of easyJet, which is now the country’s second biggest airline.

Air France-KLM Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac told a news conference in Paris: “At the moment, Air France is in the middle of big changes, with very limited resources, and that means we have to be extremely careful.”

He distanced himself from a report in an Italian newspaper that Air France-KLM was in advanced talks to buy out Italy’s struggling flag-carrier Alitalia.

“As far as Alitalia is concerned, Air France-KLM has not opened any negotiations with the shareholders of Alitalia,” de Juniac explained. “Undoubtedly, we support all the considerable efforts being made by Alitalia management, and we think that Alitalia is in good shape.”

Air France-KLM is already Alitalia’s biggest single stakeholder in a group that paid more than a billion euros to rescue the ailing airline in 2008. In just a matter of days, a lock-up clause expires, and investors will be able to sell their Alitalia shares.

Our correspondent in Paris, Giovanni Magi reports that any decision by Air France-KLM to take on Alitalia is bound to be crucial for the survival of the Italian airline.