Long-haul budget airline French Blue sets two-year deadline to break even

Marc Rochet, Chief Executive Officer of French Blue, attends a news conference to launch long-haul French low-cost airline French Blue in Paris, France, March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - Airline French Blue plans to give itself two years to break even from low-cost services between Europe and North America, its chairman told Reuters on Thursday.

The latest brand of the Dubreuil group, which also owns Air Caraibes, aims to start the long-haul services on Sept. 15, initially linking Paris with Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, followed in June 2017 by services to Reunion Island and Mauritius.

“We will see if it works. We’ve given ourselves two years,” Marc Rochet said. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll have to adapt.”

Rochet did not elaborate on how it might adapt if the carrier fails to become profitable within that deadline.

No airline has yet proved a major success with low-cost long-haul travel between Europe and North America, though companies such as Wow Air, Norwegian NWC.OL and Lufthansa's LHAG.DE Eurowings are all active in the market.

French Blue is due to take delivery of a 378-seat Airbus AIR.PA A330-300 jet at the end of June, with another A330 and two A350-900s scheduled for delivery in 2017 and 2018.

The airline plans to offer three types of fare, the cheapest of which will not include hold baggage, meals or choice of seat. It will also charge passengers to use on-board Wi-Fi services.

Reporting by Cyril Altemeyer; Editing by David Goodman