XL Airways France

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XL Airways France
XL Airways France logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedAugust 1995 (1995-08)[2]
Commenced operations22 December 1995 (1995-12-22)[2]
Ceased operations23 September 2019
HubsCharles de Gaulle Airport
Fleet size4
Parent companyXL Group Ltd.
Île-de-France, France

XL Airways France, formerly Star Airlines, was a French airline with its head offices on the grounds of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. It operated scheduled flights mainly to long-haul destinations in Africa, the Middle East, the United States and the Caribbean as well as charter flights to medium-haul destinations in the Mediterranean, mostly out of Charles de Gaulle Airport. On 19 September 2019, XL Airways announced the suspension of all flights as of 23 September; ticket sales ceased immediately and the company was placed under legal receivership and subsequently wound up. With the closure of the airline, it joined its sister airlines XL Airways UK and XL Airways Germany, both of which were also defunct, with having the XL Airways branding ended.


A former Star Airlines Airbus A320-200 in 2006

The airline was founded by Cédric Pastour in August 1995 as Société de Transport Aérien Régional and was trading under Star Europe. In October 1997 it changed its trading name to Star Airlines.[2] On 23 November 2006 the airline changed its name to XL Airways France.[3] On 12 September 2008, parent XL Leisure was about to declare bankruptcy.[4] The airline was then bought by Straumur Investment Bank.[5]

On 19 September 2019, XL Airways was placed under legal receivership due to financial difficulties. Ticket sales ceased immediately, and flights were suspended from 23 September.[6] Negotiations with potential buyers had been under way for over a year, and the search for a new buyer continued under the auspices of the commercial court.[7] Only one formal bid was received by the deadline of 4 October – from Gérard Houa, former minority shareholder of Aigle Azur, who proposed to take over two of XL Airways' four planes and 48% of its 570 staff – but the court deemed that the guarantees were insufficient and ordered the liquidation of the company.[8] In January 2020, the airline's remaining assets were auctioned off; the company's brand names and domain names were sold to an unnamed bidder for €686,400, leaving open the possibility of the name being revived.[9]

Corporate affairs[edit]

XL Airways's head office is in the Bâtiment Mars in Continental Square II on the grounds of Charles de Gaulle Airport and in the commune of Tremblay-en-France.[10] The airline's head office was originally in the Immeuble Horizon facility in Noisy-le-Grand,[11] in the Marne-la-Vallée development. Cédric Pastour, the founder of the airline, said that the company chose the Noisy site because the airline did not yet know which airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport, would serve as the airline's base, and that the Noisy site was equidistant to both airports. Pastour added that the Noisy site had access to the A4 and the A86 autoroutes and was close to the Francilienne, and that the costs in the Noisy area were lower than the costs in the airport area.[12]



Fleet at airline's closing[edit]

XL Airways France Airbus A330-200

At the time of closure, the XL Airways France fleet consisted of the following aircraft:[13][14]

XL Airways France Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A330-200 3 358
Airbus A330-300 1 408
Airbus A330-900neo 2 TBA Deliveries would have begun in 2020.[15]
Total 4 2

Formerly operated[edit]

XL Airways France previously operated the following aircraft types:[16]

XL Airways France Historical Fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airbus A320-200 2006 2012
Boeing 737-800 2007 2016

Cabin and service[edit]

XL Airways France's Airbus A330 aircraft were configured entirely with Economy class seating mostly in a 3-3-3 layout, with some rows toward the rear of the aircraft configured in a 2-3-2 layout.[14] A complimentary hot meal was served on all long-haul flights, with an additional breakfast or light meal served depending on flight length. Additional snacks and beverages were available for purchase. Comfort kits consisting of various amenities including a blanket and inflatable neck pillow were also available for purchase.[17]

Inflight entertainment was available both through overhead screens on a running schedule, and on-demand streaming to personal electronic devices via XL Cloud, the airline's wireless streaming entertainment portal. Through XL Cloud, a selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and other digital media were available for free, as well as a live inflight map and instant messaging between passengers, however Internet access was not provided through the portal.[18] An extended, premium selection of high definition movies and digital media was available for an all-inclusive fee.[19] In addition, paid rental of virtual reality headsets equipped with noise-cancelling headphones and a selection of movies in 2D and 3D was also available for the duration of the flight.


  1. ^ "IATA - Airline and Airport Code Search". iata.org. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "History". star-airlines.fr. Archived from the original on 10 September 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  3. ^ "XL AIRWAYS France - Accueil". xlairways.fr. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Thousands may be stranded as XL Leisure prepares to declare bankruptcy". thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  5. ^ "XL's Airways Germany and France businesses continue to operate". travelweekly.co.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  6. ^ Wert, Jakob (19 September 2019). "XL Airways France suspends ticket sales". International Flight Network.
  7. ^ "The French company XL Airways seeks its placement in receivership". En24 News. 19 September 2019.
  8. ^ "La compagnie aérienne française XL Airways placée en liquidation judiciaire" [French airline XL Airways wound up]. Le Monde (in French). AFP. 4 October 2019.
  9. ^ "La marque XL Airways bradée aux enchères" [The XL airways brand name auctioned off for a song]. Capital.fr (in French). 27 January 2020.
  10. ^ "DISCLAIMER". xl.com. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Contacts." Star Airlines. 11 February 2004. Retrieved on 18 June 2010. "STAR AIRLINES Immeuble Horizon 10 allée Bienvenue 93885 NOISY LE GRAND Cédex ."
  12. ^ "Star Airlines : décollage réussi[permanent dead link]." Les Echos. 12 January 1998. #17561, Page 21. Retrieved on 18 June 2010. "ce transporteur aérien a choisi de s'installer à Noisy-le-Grand, l'un des pôles en développement de la Seine-Saint-Denis, dans le périmètre de la ville nouvelle de Marne-la-Vallée. « Nous nous sommes implantés là car nous ne savions pas encore de quel aéroport _ Orly ou Roissy _ décolleraient nos avions. Or Noisy-le-Grand est à égale distance des deux sites et bénéficie d'un noeud autoroutier : l'A4, l'A86, la Francilienne pas loin. Et le coût y est moindre que dans une zone aéroportuaire », confie Cédric Pastour, le PDG, ancien directeur général adjoint d'Air Liberté au côté de Lotfi Belhassine."
  13. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World. October 2019: 14.
  14. ^ a b "Our fleet". XL Airways. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  15. ^ "XL Airways France orders two Airbus A330-900". Airlinerwatch. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  16. ^ "XL Airways France Fleet". Airfleets Aviation. Airfleets.net. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Our Economy Class". XL Airways. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  18. ^ "In-flight entertainment". XL Airways. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  19. ^ "XL Cloud". XL Airways. Retrieved 3 May 2019.

External links[edit]

Media related to XL Airways France at Wikimedia Commons
Media related to Star Airlines at Wikimedia Commons