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Air France Says It Could Lose Money as Fliers Avoid the 2024 Olympics

Air France Says It Could Lose Money as Fliers Avoid the 2024 Olympics

Everyone seems to be excited for the Paris Olympics this summer—except for Air France-KLM, that is.

Despite a record-setting travel boom this year across the globe, the airline warned on Monday that financial losses are looming as tourists avoid the City of Light, which is set to host the Games later this month, Bloomberg reported. The airline group says the international sporting event has negatively impacted summer traffic both to and from Paris, with foreigners concerned about high prices and flight disruptions between July 26 and August 11. Meanwhile, locals are putting their vacations on pause, too—or are at least weighing their options.

“International markets show a significant avoidance of Paris,” the airline said in a statement. “Travel between the city and other destinations is also below the usual June-August average as residents in France seem to be postponing their holidays until after the Olympic Games or considering alternative travel plans.” 

Altogether, the company estimates a revenue hit between €160 million ($172 million) and €180 million ($193 million) from June to August due to visitor avoidance. Despite this, the group’s Air France and Transavia airlines have increased their total capacities to accommodate spectators in the lead-up to the Olympics. However, Air France-KLM anticipates things settling down after the summer. 

“Travel to and from France is expected to normalize after the Olympic Games, with encouraging demand levels projected for the end of August and the month of September,” the airline added.  

The city estimates a whopping 15 million visitors will attend the Olympic Games this summer. And while the mega-event may be a monumental moment for some, others are discouraged by the thought of big crowds and traffic jams. Recently, Air France-KLM predicted a 14.8 percent dip in foreign arrivals in July 2024 compared to 2023, in addition to a 16.4 percent drop from 2019. At the same time, hotel booking levels in the first 10 days of July are averaging around 60 percent in Paris, a 10 percent drop from last year.

“People are postponing their plans or coming for the Olympics,” the director of the Paris Tourist Office told the French newspaper Le Monde in June. “We have fewer Americans in Paris at the moment, but they are the main foreign visitors who will be here during the Games.” 

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And those tourists will have plenty to explore while exploring the City of Light. Five-star hotels across the capital are upping the ante on their usual white-glove service, offering things like athlete-worthy wellness programs and unique art exhibits. Brands are joining in on the festivities, too, with Omega’s release of two new Chronoscope Speedmasters and Ralph Lauren’s debut of its denim-chic Team USA uniforms. The fun will only continue when the Summer Olympics officially kick off on July 26.

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