French leisure airline Aigle Azur will make changes in its operations to and from China and Brazil as it continues with long-haul expansion plans, while maintaining services to its established European and African destinations. 

Beijing service, which the carrier began last year, will be reorganized from May to improve connections with partner Hainan Airlines’ network, resulting in a temporary suspension of Paris-Beijing flights while awaiting approval for new slots from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). 

Aigle Azur said it would suspend its three weekly Paris Orly-Beijing flights from the end of March “for a few weeks,” before starting again with three weekly flights at different times. 

“Aigle Azur wants to reinforce its partnership with Hainan Airlines in Beijing. This will allow for the establishment of better connections to the main Chinese cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Wuhan, Wenzhou, Haikou and Fuzhou,” the airline said. “In parallel, these new flight times will allow for a greater number of connection flights to and from Portugal with Aigle Azur flights and those of its partner TAP Portugal through Aigle Azur’s main base in Paris Orly.” 

The carrier also said it would add its code to Hainan Airlines from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Shenzhen and Chongqing, adding to the codeshare already in place on the carrier’s Xi’an flight. 

Aigle Azur said it would also increase the frequency of its flights from Paris Orly to Brazil’s Sao Paulo-Campinas airport, following strong demand since the service was launched in July 2018. From April 1, the service will operate five times a week, up from four, in partnership with Azul Brazilian Airlines. 

Aigle Azur’s Paris Orly-Bamako, Mali, service will also increase to four, from three times weekly from the summer, with the airline’s codeshare partnership with Corsair ensuring a daily service. 

The carrier also announced changes to its European network, confirming it would open a Paris Orly-Kiev Boryspil service operated by an Airbus A320 3X-weekly from April 18, in partnership with TAP. 

A Marseille-Moscow Domodedovo A320 service will begin operating twice a week from March 27, using two aircraft based in Marseille, in partnership with Russia’s S7 Airlines. This adds to the four weekly services between Paris Orly and Domodedovo.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk