ISG renews Air Caraïbes and French Bee inflight contracts for a further two years

By Luke Barras-hill |

Air-Caraibes-ISG-renewal

The extended agreements with Air Caraïbes (pictured) and French Bee begin on 1 December. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Pedro Aragão.

Inflight Sales Group (ISG) Europe SAS will continue to serve as the retail concessionaire onboard French Bee (formerly French Blue) and Air Caraïbes for at least two years, effective 1 December, TRBusiness has learned.

ISG secured agreements with low-cost carrier French Bee and regional airline Air Caraïbes –both part of the Dubreuil Group – in 2016.

The inflight concessionaire currently runs full concession programmes with French Bee, Air Caraïbes and Corsair (among a number of others) and boasts wholesale contracts with the likes of Air Tahiti Nui, Aeroflot, Royal Air Maroc and Air Burkina.

Europe President Karen Durban-Villeval says ISG plans to develop buy-on-board, implement crew incentives and training and introduce seat-back offers on French Bee, and activate e-learning modules, enhance selling techniques and invest in new front-office technology such as tablets on Air Caraïbes.

Karen-Durban-ISG-19

Karen Durban-Villeval, President, ISG Europe.

AIGLE AZUR IMPACT

Speaking to this publication recently, Durban-Villeval confirms both businesses have achieved ‘quite solid’ year-to-date performances in 2019.

The collapse of Aigle Azur last month – ISG won an agreement to manage the buy-on-board and duty free business in 2018 and was working on its pre-order service as recently as early this year – has proved challenging.

However, Durban-Villeval remains optimistic about the region’s prospects. “In Europe, five years ago Aeroflot started from scratch. They are now mature. We are doing business on all flights. There is lots of potential in the CIS, but there is work to do.”

In Africa, also part Durban-Villeval’s remit, she says there is a potential to develop inflight retail in the next five years.

Delegates to last week’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes were not furnished with the usual data on inflight retail revenues last year, but anecdotally the market is experiencing marked changes, with a number of carriers such as SASKLMTAP Air Portugal, and Qatar Airways either diversifying or halting their inflight retail regimes altogether.

Commenting more generally on the current state of the onboard retail market, Durban-Villeval added: “We have Royal Air Maroc and as a legacy carrier [inflight retail] is decreasing by -15% every year. On the contrary, we are +5% on Air Caraïbes and French Bee is +30% because we’re finding new products to sell, the crew is motivated and we sell more buy-on-board.

“In the airline business, you need to differentiate [between] the legacy carriers and low- or smart-cost. It is no longer [the case] that because you want to travel low cost you don’t want a good seat, a nice aircraft and to be able to buy good food. The quality and value has to be there and it has good potential.

“The objective is to keep and develop our customers where we feel there is some growth.”

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