Air France-KLM will take alliance with Jet Airways to next level: Pieter Elbers
New Delhi: Air France-KLM, which signed an enhanced cooperation agreement with Jet Airways (India) Ltd last year, wants to deepen its alliance with the Indian carrier to exploit an expected double-digit growth in the air travel markets of India and North America, KLM’s president and chief executive officer Pieter Elbers said on Wednesday.
“First we put connections and code-share in place on each others network. Now we are taking it (the alliance with Jet Airways) to the next level in terms of customer interface,” Elbers said on the sidelines of the International Aviation Summit—India in New Delhi.
Air France-KLM and Jet Airways are also working towards aligning their frequent flyer programmes, he said.
The November 2017 pact between Jet Airways and Air France-KLM gave the Mumbai-based carrier wider access to Europe and North America–home to millions of expatriate Indians. For Air France-KLM, the partnership significantly boosted their access to the Indian market, one of the world’s fastest-growing.
Elbers said that he is “amazed” with the speed at which Air France-KLM alliance with Jet Airways has developed.
“If you see the level of maturity and cooperation today, compared to the amount of time, it took to build alliances in the US and China, I am very impressed by the speed with which we are moving forward and the commitment from Jet Airways side,” Elbers said.
Air France-KLM sees Jet Airways as an integral partner to connect India to the US through hubs in Amsterdam and Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris.
“Everyone knows that there is a huge flow of passengers from India and the US. Using our hubs in Amsterdam and CDG, which are two of the strongest hubs in Europe and connecting them directly to the network of Jet Airways is helping us,” Elbers said.
“We now have a strong position in the Europe, the US and Indian markets. We have seen double-digit growth (in the Indian and the US market),” he added.
Elbers, however, didn’t comment on the current financial condition of Jet Airways. He also didn’t say whether Air France-KLM is interested in either investing or buying a stake in Jet Airways.
“The Indian domestic market is huge. At the end of the day, it is our job as aviation executives to make it possible for people to travel between say Amritsar, an Indian city, and a city in Denmark,” Elbers said. “With this, there is a great opportunity to utilize the domestic network of Jet Airways.”A spokesperson for Jet Airways declined to comment.