Name: Laurent Magnin
Title: Chief executive officer
Company, city: XL Airways; Paris, France
Number of employees: 800
Recent project: Expanding service to the United States is our goal; in the last three years, we’ve launched service to San Francisco and Miami. We are also focused on opening service to additional cities in France.
First job: I left school at 15; my father was in the airline business, and he put me to work. I started with Corsair and was there for 25 years.
Little-known fact about you: I am crazy about trains. I also own 10,000 records; I love rock music.
Essential business philosophy: It’s the same as my philosophy behind starting the airline — people deserve the chance to select their travel by price; we are small and affordable, giving another option for families to travel. You look at the price when you pay for your ticket much more than you do when your company is paying, and travelers deserve viable options.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: It’s about the people inside the company. If you and your employees are in good spirits, your company is efficient.
Yardstick of success: The happiness of passengers and the staff. It is important to be close to and respect the people who fly with you and the people who work with you.
Laurent Magnin as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? My iPad; I hate when I am left with the movie and TV selections of the airline. I like to pick what I want to watch.
How do you spend your time on board? This is personal time for me; I read books, watch movies and listen to music.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? Long Island Bar-Brasserie in Paris
What is your favorite destination in the world? Tanzania; I have my strongest memories from my trip there.
About XL Airways
Tell our readers about XL Airways’ Galaxy Class.
Most people will pay for the additional comfort of Galaxy Class, especially for flights at 10-plus hours. For leisure travelers, it is about the price. And the value is worth it in Galaxy; the seats are equivalent to a premium economy-class seat, as opposed to business class. Service includes a fine meal, an amenity kit and a personal video screen. Across the board, XL Airways offers a checked bag and a hot meal to all passengers.
XL is short for excel, or excellency. Our goal is in our name, plus we are the only airline with just a two-letter name.
XL Airways operates seasonal service to New York, Las Vegas, Miami and San Francisco. Any plans to open other U.S. gateways?
The United States is absolutely a focus. Service to Los Angeles is next, as well as opening up New York City with other cities in France, including in the South. Paris is a great jumping-off point for other areas in Europe.
What are the plans for the future?
We are extremely dedicated to long-haul services; that’s the goal. As I’ve mentioned, the connections between the United States and Europe are important. Five years ago, that business was virtually nonexistent. Today, it accounts for 25 percent of our business. Projections show it could make up as much as 70 to 80 percent in the next three years. I would not be surprised to see XL Airways eventually offering one flight per week year-round between New York City and Paris in the near future.
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