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Syphax Airlines is a privately owned hybrid Tunisian airline established by businessman Mohamed Frikha in 2011. With its major hub in Sfax, the second-biggest city in Tunisia, Syphax commenced operations in mid 2012. The carrier is focussed on international flights, operating Airbus aircraft on both regular and charter flights to cities including Paris, Rome, Tripoli, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Casablanca, Istanbul and Benghazi, in competition with national carrier Tunisair. A330s to be delivered in 2013 and 2014 will also extend its operations to long haul destinations.
Location of Syphax Airlines main hub (Sfax Thyna Airport)
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As a majority state-owned airline in North Africa, Tunisair has retained most of the flag carrier privileges that are cemented in the 1944 Chicago Convention, but those protectionist practices run counter to the present realities of passengers wanting choice and low fares. It is only natural that Tunisair defends its flag carrier status and historic market share, yet its lax attitude to take out legacy waste makes it ill-prepared for an Open Skies with the European Union or other Maghreb countries.
Tunisair deploys about 70% of its weekly seat capacity on routes to Western Europe and it has a 55% to 68% share of all one-way seats flown between Tunisia and Western Europe depending the high or low season. This is likely to decrease under an Open Skies with the EU and this in turn could lead to a further erosion of Tunisair’s financial results.