When Norwegian launched flights between the US and the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe a couple years ago the industry was somewhat skeptical. In a sign that the market may be slightly stronger than previously believed Air France is joining the party as it adds to its Caribbean portfolio. The French carrier will fly between Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe and Atlanta twice weekly starting in November 2017.
The new service promises onward connections in both directions for travelers. Via Atlanta passengers have more than 60 same-day onward destinations available. Via Point-a-Pitre travelers will see connections to Cayenne, French Guiana or Fort-de-France, Martinique, depending on which day they fly. Northbound travel from the French territories will flow to Atlanta as well.
Flight schedules (in local time):
AF608: leaves Pointe à Pitre at 16:20, arrives in Atlanta at 20:05;
Flights operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
AF609: leaves Atlanta at 10:40; arrives in Pointe à Pitre at 15:50;
Flights operated on Wednesdays.
AF609: leaves Atlanta at 10:15; arrives in Pointe à Pitre at 15:25.
Flights operated on Sundays.
Air France has a long history of operations in the Caribbean with flights connecting its many former colonies together and onward to Miami.
This is an expansion of that service and a boon to the Caribbean travel market in general. With many small islands air travel is a necessity for locals and visitors alike. And the current aviation infrastructure remains relatively underdeveloped. Part of that is lower demand – a 50 seat plane is generally considered too large for most markets within the region – and part is regulatory & tax burdens that limit route viability. In this case a move to further grow a regional hub with strong onward connections should pay off well for Air France.
- DYland Time: To Guadeloupe and Beyond
- Norwegian expands winter Caribbean service
- DYland Time: Norwegian’s Caribbean Inaugural Adventure
- Norwegian Air Adds US-Caribbean Routes
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Rumour has it that Norwegian was looking at the route. And we all know how Delta feels about Norwegian. 😉 And yes – it’s also DL codeshare.
Better connections on Air France/Delta, of course. Though the operating costs are also significantly higher.
Which means Norwegian will look elsewhere than Delta’s back yard. 😉
Being able to fly Eurobusiness from ATL strikes me as so weird
Are these staffed by local islanders, or “mainland” french? Wondering what the service is like…
I’m not sure about the cabin/flight crews. Ground services will be mostly locals. For most of the destinations they are French citizens as those locations are DOMs. Not Europe but slightly European.
Handy use for skymiles for us ATL folks or those willing to connect.
Quick point of clarification. These places are France not former colonies.
Some of the AF hopper destinations (e.g. Haiti) are former colonies. Others are DOMs. 🙂
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