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A promising start for the Castres-Orly route, marked by a positive first result

As part of the multi-year public service delegation agreement, our Normandy-based airline has been entrusted with the operation of the Castres-Paris route from June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2027. Less than half a year after the first flights, the results are positive and promising. Passenger numbers are encouraging, and a number of avenues are being explored to ensure the further development of this route, which is vital to the development of the Tarn region.
Published on January 3, 2024

An encouraging start to the Castres-Orly route's recovery

Since June 1, Chalair has been operating the route between Castres-Mazamet and Paris-Orly, with two daily round trips from Monday to Friday and one rotation on Sunday. These 22 flights are operated in less than two hours by a 48-seatATR regional jet.

The route has not yet returned to its pre-covid rhythm. But as Alain Battisti, President of our regional airline, points out, "after five months of operation, we have an initial record of 161 passengers more than the target set". This represents "a load factor of just over 60%".

It should also be noted that the majority of scheduled flights were carried out, excluding weather conditions, with a completion rate of 98%. Another figure that testifies to Chalair's commitment.

As Alain Battisti reminds us, "It's up to us to be reliable and ensure our mission by using high-performance aircraft, even when the weather is not good, which is the case with the ATR 42 or ATR 72".

Last but not least, the resumption of this route was a great relief for the airport's syndicat mixte, as well as for passengers and many local businesses. In addition to opening up the region, the continued operation of Castres-Mazamet airport also enables the training of paratroopers from the 8th RPIMa (marine infantry paratroop regiment).

Development projects around the Castres-Paris line

On the strength of this first positive result, our company is now looking to the future, with a view to developing the Castres-Orly route. Several partnerships have already been signed, and others are under study.

  • Commercial agreements with Air Caraïbes and French Bee give passengers direct access to long-haul destinations from Castres (New York, San Francisco, the West Indies, Tahiti, etc.).
  • The commercial partnership with Air France also multiplies the range of connecting destinations and diversifies ticket purchasing platforms for travellers.
  • Collaborations are planned with the region's tourist offices and event organizers.
  • The introduction of a seasonal service is also being considered.

Despite a slightly longer flight time than previously, with the deliberate choice of an ATR-type aircraft rather than a twin-engine jet, overall travel time remains identical for the passenger. Disembarkation/embarkation operations are much quicker: the aircraft is usually "in contact" at Orly, allowing rapid pedestrian access, without the need for the tedious and time-consuming wait for an airport bus, as was previously the case.

What's more, the ATR aircraft used on the Castres / Orly route has reduced its carbon footprint by over 40%, compared with previous practices!