Why countries consider so important having a flag carrier? Well, it’s pretty clear: it represents the national power and identity.
This strategy is not working anymore nowadays even if these flag carriers have been around long before the low-cost revolution establishing rules and the way of flying.
In the last ten years we saw the downhill on many airline companies (Alitalia sounds familiar?) and many of them are staggered on the brink, AirFrance for example, due to wrong strategical and managerial choices.
Bruno Le Maire, the French economic minister, warned the top management of Air France without compromise: “Air France will disappear if it does not make the necessary efforts to be competitive”, he said.
Air France, in particular, is one of the oldest flag carriers. Founded in 1933 and part of the aviation history for being one of the only three Allied carriers that flew to West Berlin during the Cold War and for the running of the supersonic Concorde. In 2004, the French airline company was the largest European airline, with a 25.5 per cent market share.
How was the situation last year?
How to compete with low-cost airlines?
Stop considering flag carriers mainly as a patriotic showcase and give more importance on commercial and market trends and ask what are the customers’ expectations.
Let’s see what some flag carriers usually do in order to attract more passengers:
- Offer great free Wi-Fi on board;
- Power outlets on seats;
- Better quality screens and a greater variety of films and music;
- Improve menus from an ingredients quality standpoint of view (bio, local) but also from customers needs perspective (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free etc..);
- New aircrafts in order to serve overseas routes at a more affordable price.