XL Airways suspends operations

XL Airways France Airbus A330-300. Photo: © Eric Salard

XL Airways France has announced that it is suspending operations from Monday, at 3 pm local time. All flights until October 3rd have been cancelled.

This comes less than two weeks after the French airline stopped ticket sales due to financial issues. The carrier was trying to secure a rescue deal with potential investors. One of the main parties XL Airways has reached out to was reportedly flag-carrier Air France.

On Sunday, the government of France stated that state aid for low-cost carrier Norwegian (which is a direct competitor to XL Airways on some routes) is likely a reason for the difficulties XL is facing. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire is seeking EU intervention.

The airline apologises to affected passengers and asks everyone who booked a package holiday which includes XL Airways flights to contact their travel company. Others may try to contact their travel insurance provider or credit card company to check if a refund is possible. Tickets of the French airline during the aforementioned period are no longer valid and alternate flights have to be organised.

XL Airways France was founded in 1995 (branded as ‘Star Airlines’ until 2006) and currently operates an all-widebody fleet, consisting of three Airbus A330-200 and one A330-300. It offers flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to destinations mostly in the United States and the Caribbean, along with long-haul domestic flights to Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

La Compagnie, an all business-class airline, which operates flights between France and New York/Newark, is part of the same holding company as XL Airways. It remains unclear if and how the premium carrier would be affected by the situation of its sister airline.

Earlier this month, Aigle Azur, another French airline, ceased flight operations just a few days after filing for bankruptcy.