Air France have announced that they are rationalising their domestic and short haul divisions under the brand name ‘Hop!’. (I’m not sure having an exclamation mark in the name will be reassuring to passengers?). They currently have three regional airlines, acquired at different times, s0 the ‘new’ regional carrier will have a fleet of 98 aircraft flying to 136 destinations. Their schedule will be ‘dense’, with 530 flights each day.
The jury is out with regards whether or not legacy carriers should, or should not, have a separately branded ‘low cost’ regional offering. In the late 1990s, when the low cost carriers (LCCs), such as easyjet and Ryanair, started to become very successful many of the existing airlines set up their own LCCs in competition. In most cases these failed, basically because running an international airline based around a hub network is a very different business model to operating a LCC with a network of routes.
Hop! will not really be a LCC, as one of its major roles will be to feed Air France passengers into its long haul hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. So this is largely a marketing makeover, rather than a significant shift in operations management terms.