Air France is upgrading its cabin with new leather seats and offering flexible pricing on European routes into its Charles de Gaulle hub in Paris to fend off rivals that have taken market share with business travelers.

The French unit of Air France-KLM Group is spending 50 million euros ($62 million) on the refurbishment in all classes on 49 Airbus single-aisle planes starting from April, while offering improved meal options and trialing on-board Internet access, the carrier said in a statement today.

The airline is responding to efforts by low-cost airlines EasyJet Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc to court business passengers seeking to cut back on travel budgets. EasyJet is already the second-biggest carrier in France after Air France and has been ramping up its presence at key airports, including Amsterdam and targeting corporate travelers with add-ons such as allocated seats and flexible fares.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Rothman in Toulouse at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

Photo Credit: Business class meal by chef Regis Marcon. Air France