Air Algérie, Algeria's flag carrier, plans to launch 16 new international routes in the coming years. One route would be the first direct flight between Algeria and the U.S. by connecting Algiers and New York.
Air Algérie's Growth
Yacine Benslimane, CEO of Air Algérie, spoke to members of the People's National Assembly (APN) in November 2023 regarding his airline's growth and plans. In this hearing, Benslimane highlighted Air Algérie's increasing control of the country's international market share. Air Algérie's market share increased from 52.11% in 2019 to 61.30% in 2023 when looking at all international flights from Algeria.
Within that same period, Benslimane noted that the carrier increased its load factors by roughly 10% on domestic flights and 13% on international services within Africa. He reported that Air Algérie had transported approximately 5.2 million passengers by September 2023, representing a 6% increase from 2019.
With all this growth, the airline plans to launch 16 new routes. According to its CEO, these include the following destinations:
- New York, United States
- Caracas, Venezuela
- Havana, Cuba
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- London-Gatwick, United Kingdom
- Libreville, Gabon
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Abuja, Nigeria
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Guangzhou, China
- Hong Kong
Air Algérie has already launched new services to Douala, Cameroon (DLA), and Johannesburg (JNB). Another new route to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) is set to begin on June 19.
New York Service?
As far as North America goes, Air Algérie only has one route: to Montréal, Canada (YUL). This route is served five times weekly with the airline's Airbus A330-200. Air Algérie has a fleet of eight A330-200s that it uses for all of its long-haul routes. The airline has new widebody jets with five A330-900neos and two A350-1000s on order. These planes are expected to be delivered starting in 2025.
In February 2013, upon Air Algérie's order of three additional A330-200s (now registered 7T-VJA, 7T-VJB, and 7T-VJC), unofficial sources revealed that the airline planned to start flying these aircraft to long-haul destinations like New York, São Paulo, Johannesburg, and Shanghai.
None of these destinations ever materialized except for Johannesburg. However, with seven more widebody jets on the way, this could be the order Air Algérie needed to launch more long-haul flights. Looking at Air Algérie's widebody order, the most sensible route assignments for its new aircraft could be the following.
The two A350-1000s could be assigned to Shanghai and São Paulo service as these would be the longest routes Air Algérie has ever served. Given the A350-1000's impeccable range of up to 10,000 miles (8,700 nautical miles), it would be the best-fit aircraft for these flights.
The A330-900neos could be assigned to New York service and upgrading the services to Johannesburg, Montréal, and Beijing currently on A330-200s. Air Algérie has not specified whether the seven new widebody jets are intended to replace some of its A330-200s, the five oldest of which are pushing 19 to 20 years of age.
The older A330s currently fly shorter routes like those to Jeddah (JED), Madinah (MED), Dubai (DXB), and London Heathrow (LHR). If these five jets are retired, the three younger A330-200s can replace them on these shorter flights while the newer A330neo and A350 jets take over on long-haul flights.
Air Algérie serving New York is unexpected as the Algerian community in the United States is comparatively small when looking at other Algerian diaspora communities. It is estimated that there are fewer than 50,000 Algerian Americans compared to over 70,000 in nearby Canada. The large Algerian diaspora in Canada prompted Air Algérie's service to Montréal.
Air Algérie also only offers codeshare agreements with Tunisair and Turkish Airlines. Therefore, it would be difficult for the airline to attract connecting traffic since it could not market its flights to passengers based in New York. Therefore, Air Algérie must depend on local traffic to fly point-to-point between New York (JFK) and Algiers (ALG).
Much of the Algerian American community resides in the New York metropolitan area, possibly creating enough demand to sustain this route once launched. Air Algérie has not outlined any launch dates for the New York service. However, the service could launch after 2025 when the airline receives its newer widebody aircraft.
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