Two airlines announced Newark-Paris flights on the same day. It may not last.
Francophiles of New York City, rejoice. Your options to fly to Paris have just multiplied.
On Thursday, Corsair announced a new nonstop service from Newark to Paris-Orly, beginning in June 2020. Mere hours later, French Bee, a low-cost French carrier mostly known in the U.S. for service between California and French Polynesia, said it was joining the fray in the New York-Paris market by serving the same airports, and also starting in June 2020.
The announcements mean that by next year, barring any unforeseen route suspensions, the total number of airlines operating between the New York metro area and Paris will be a whopping 10.
Competition from Corsair and French Bee could further destabilize Norwegian's market share on the route, as that airline continues to struggle financially.
Although New York is the most popular long-haul destination from Paris, it's unclear if there's enough demand to fill all the new planes that will soon be headed there from the French capital.
“I think it will be a financial bloodbath for both airlines and we’ll have to wait and see who has the stronger balance sheet and intestinal fortitude," said Henry Harteveldt, president of the travel analysis firm Atmosphere Research. "There’s a lot of capacity between the New York area and Paris, and it’s unclear to me whether the market can sustain all of these carriers.”
Harteveldt said his concern is compounded by the fact that both newcomers are planning to operate widebody aircraft on the route: an A330 for Corsair and an A350 for French Bee.
“I’d feel more confident if one, preferably both, were using a single-aisle airplane, simply because you can still put a lot of seats on those in a high-density configuration," Harteveldt said. “It’s going to be a lot easier to sell a couple hundred seats than 350-400 seats.”
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation via Diio by Cirium, just over 2.3 million passengers traveled between New York and Paris in 2018, and it's unclear if the new service will stimulate more demand or if the market is already maxed out or close to it.
But, Harteveldt said, while all of the flights and carriers are operating, travelers should be able to find some great deals between the two cities, especially for passengers from the U.S. who will further benefit from a favorable exchange rate between the dollar and the euro.
So, enjoy the choices and likely low fares while you can. They don't seem destined to last. And if you want to know what to expect on French Bee, read our recent review of one of the airline's existing U.S. flights.