Air France (AF, Paris CDG) has announced its HOP! (A5, Paris Orly) regional subsidiary will be rebranded as Air France HOP.

In a statement, the Air France-KLM unit said the move would more clearly identify HOP! with its parent's brand akin to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam Schiphol) and its KLM cityhopper (WA, Amsterdam Schiphol) subsidiary.

"This project is in line with the simplification strategy currently being implemented within Air France's short-haul sector, including regional aircraft operations, which aims to regain customers' trust and restore a sustainable economic balance," it said in a statement.

"This change of brand will have no effect on the work contracts of HOP! staff. All flights sold by HOP! or currently on sale will continue to operate normally, with no impact on customers."

HOP! currently operates seven ATR42-500s, two ATR72-500s, six -600s, fourteen CRJ-1000s, nine CRJ-700s, thirteen E145s, fifteen E170s, and eleven E190s. It also wet-leases two Fokker 100s from Avanti Air and one ARJ-100 from JOTA Aviation.

It serves 43 destinations primarily throughout France as well as in Italy, Czechia, Germany, and Belgium from bases at Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon St. Exupéry, Nantes, Rennes, Strasbourg, Toulouse Blagnac, as well as Paris CDG and Orly.

As previously reported, the Franco-Dutch carrier group's chief executive Ben Smith wants HOP! to focus on feeding Air France at its Paris CDG and Paris Orly hubs. At the former airport, the regional carrier will base only Embraer regional jets (namely E170s and E190s) while only CRJ-1000ERs will be deployed to the latter.

According to a HOP! pilot union communique issued on January 9, HOP!'s Avions de Transport Régional fleet will be retired along with the E145s and CRJ-700s. The move has already raised fears that with the decision to focus more on the French capital, regional bases may also be closed.

However, despite increased consolidation, Smith told the union during a meeting in early January that there were no immediate plans to merge HOP! into Air France.

"It's not realistic and I do not see the benefit, it's not in the plan," he said.