Aigle Azur’s Interesting New Longhaul Flights

Up until recently I didn’t know much at all about Aigle Azur, a French airline based at Paris Orly Airport. Previously when I heard the name mentioned it sounded to me like a combination of Air Algerie and Azul Airlines. I realize that’s because I was reading the name too quickly, but based on their route network, it’s not that far off.

Aigle Azur is a French leisure airline that has historically operated short-haul and medium-haul flights from Paris Orly. They operated a small fleet of Airbus A320s, flying to destinations in Europe and Northern Africa. For example, they operate to 10 different airports in Algeria, to give you a sense of their focus.

While looking at Aigle Azur’s Wikipedia page I couldn’t help but notice their Incidents & Accidents section. Decades ago they operated flights in French Indochina, and between 1949 and 1954 they had nine hull-loss incidents. I realize times have changed, but I don’t even get how airlines could operate back then. Were they insured, and if so, how much was insurance when you lost an average of about two planes per year? Again, I don’t think this reflects their safety nowadays, but I found it interesting.

The airline recently started operating longhaul flights, and up until today I didn’t look too closely into this, but I do find it very interesting. A vast majority of longhaul French leisure airlines seem to operate to Overseas France, including places like Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, etc. Aigle Azur is different. This might have to do with their shareholders, as both HNA Group (behind Hainan Airlines) and David Neelman (behind JetBlue and Azul) are involved in Aigle Azur.

Aigle Azur is leasing three Airbus A330-200s — they already have two in their fleet, and should get a third one in the coming months.

The airline got their A330s from airberlin, and they feature exactly the same staggered business class seats that airberlin used to have.

As you might expect, they’re using these A330s to launch longhaul flights. Specifically, the airline already operates flights from Paris Orly to Viracopos International Airport (outside of Sao Paulo), and will soon launch flights to Beijing Capital Airport as well. While those might seem like two random destinations from Paris, these are the hubs of both Hainan and Azul, so I guess it makes sense.

Aigle Azur’s flights to Viracopos operate 3x weekly with the following schedule:

ZI35 Paris Orly to Viracopos departing 10:15AM arriving 5:15PM [Sun, Tue, Thu]
ZI36 Viracopos to Paris Orly departing 7:15PM arriving 11:45AM (+1 day) [Sun, Tue, Thu]

Meanwhile the airline will launch 3x weekly flights to Beijing as of September 5, 2018, with the following schedule:

ZI887 Paris Orly to Beijing departing 1:45PM arriving 6:35AM (+1 day) [Mon, Wed, Fri]
ZI888 Beijing to Paris Orly departing 9:10AM arriving 3:20PM [Tue, Thu, Sat]

You guys know I love trying new services, and what intrigues me the most is their flight to Viracopos. I’ve been wanting to review Azul Airlines, and they operate flights from the US to Viracopos, so it could be fun to fly from Fort Lauderdale to Viracopos to Paris Orly, for example.

Azul has very reasonable fares from the US to Brazil, with business class starting at just $837 one-way:

Then just pulling up a random date, I see 1,066EUR one-way business class fares on Aigle Azur, which isn’t too bad. I’m sure I could find a lower fare with some more digging.

It looks like their pricing from Paris to Beijing is a bit higher, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see them operate some fare sales once the route launches.

 

Aigle Azur doesn’t belong to any alliance or have any mileage program partnerships, so for most of us, booking paid tickets is the only option.

Has anyone flown Aigle Azur? Would an Azul and Aigle Azur review through Viracopos be interesting?

Comments

  1. Some of their pricing doesn’t make much sense.
    For example, they have started flying to Moscow not that long ago, but they are consistently more expensive than direct flights by Aeroflot and Air France (and 2,5 times more expensive than Air Serbia/Air Baltic/LOT connecting flights).
    At this point I don’t understand who they target.

  2. Aigle Azur is partially owned by the HNA Group, parent of Hainan Airlines. HNA until very recently owned a stake in Azul, which has major operations in Viracopos. I think that may connect the dots???

  3. While of course any review of yours is entertaining to read, there’s some balance between sampling the unusual airlines of the world, and those that your readership are likely to ever fly or strive to fly in J/F, no? If it’s just another oddball airline, nothing too special and not story-worthy, what can we really do with the information?

  4. Please review Aigle Azur. I am Brazilian and Viracopos is my home Airport. From the US to Brazil with Azul you can fly either from FLL or MCO. I experienced their business class on these routes. Although Azul doesn’t belong to any alliance, you can credit use your UA Mileage Plus to credit miles or to redeem for Azul flights.

  5. @ Alhitmi — If you scroll down just one post you’ll find an Emirates A380 first class review. 😉

  6. Of course it would be interesting! I love how you misread the name as being a combination of Air Algerie and Azul Airlines, and then randomly as it is it turns out they actually are! Haha

  7. @erick schmitt just because you won’t fly with either doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there looking to fly them.

  8. I highly recommend taking Azul from viracopos to Santos Dumont in Rio. It’s possibly the best airport approach in the world!!

  9. I’m definitely interested in reading such reviews.

    I’ve flown Azul long haul in J a few times (good staggered hard product; okay soft product; Avianca Brasil has nicer soft product IMHO). Lounge in Viracopos is okay. Nothing to write home about, but not too bad.

    Never flown Aigle Azur, and would be very interested.

    In addition to United, you can credit Azul flights to TAP Victoria.

    Cheers

  10. These lesser known airlines are very useful to some of us.
    I have a client who will only pay economy, so I have to be inventive to get some sleep on the overnight journeys.
    Paris-Sao Paolo would have been very useful for me last year.
    (I did Casablanca – Sao Paolo on RAM, knowing that it would be OK from review on this site)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *