After announcing the definitive cut of flight schedules to the Dominican Republic, alleging low profitability due to high costs of taxes, services and fuel, the airline Air France will resume this week its connections to Punta Cana with 2 weekly flights combined with the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Specifically, and according to the flight schedule of the Punta Cana International Airport for this week, the new seasonal flights were set for Saturdays and Sundays with route PTP-PUJ-FDF, marked with #AFR 4010 inbound and #4013 outbound, landing at 9.55 am and departing at 10:55 am Dominican local time. These connections will be made with an A320-200 aircraft (200 pax), with far fewer seats than previously when, with direct flights from Paris, it landed with a B777 with almost 500 seats.
The fact is that Air France has by tradition and public policy, to serve many of the Caribbean islands formerly French colonies and being in trouble for lack of sufficient travelers to these, has to connect them with the popular tourist destination Punta Cana so that the flight is profitable for the airline.
Aerolineas Argentinas case
A similar case was presented at the time by Aerolineas Argentinas, when surprisingly for the operators, it decided to remove 2 flights to Punta Cana from its schedule, to divert them to Cuba. After several weeks of having implemented them without as much occupancy as to the DR, they decided to connect them with Punta Cana in order to fill their missing seats to make them profitable.
Air France suspended its connections to the Dominican Republic in March.
At the beginning of the year, an Air France communiqué addressed to operators and to which Online Plus had access informed that: “the connections from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Santo Domingo and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), until now operated throughout the year, will become seasonal from the end of the winter season 2022-2023”.
“The last flights will be scheduled respectively for March 23 and 25, 2023, to resume at the end of October, for the 2023-2024 winter season,” the statement said. To then report that these connections had been canceled indefinitely.
How many tourists did the DR lose?
Historically France is the 3rd country in issuing tourists to the Dominican Republic after the United States and Canada, and the first in Europe, with an annual arrival of French to the country in 2022 of 150,138∗ tourists. Air France, transported 38.77% of these travelers, bringing to the country some 58,208 tourists in 2022.
As a result, our destinations lost about 4,850 travelers per month and if we add the 7 months of flight cancellations, we see a decrease of about 33,950 passengers in total, 93% of these in Punta Cana.
The French airline’s weekly flight schedule to the DR until March 2023 from Paris totaled 7 in all, 4 direct CGD-PUJ flights and 3 combined PUJ-SDQ-CDG flights, all carried out in wide-body B777s that allow 450 seats.
As for the cancelled Air France flights, these total about 160 flights in the 7 months announced (end of March to end of October 2023).