KLM JV with MAS, What Does It Mean ?

Malaysia Airlines and KLM, codeshare partners for twelve years, signed an MoU for a wide-ranging JV, yesterday ( 22 Dec ) in Shanghai.

The joint venture, KLM’s fifth of the kind, includes revenue sharing on the Kuala Lumpur – Amsterdam route.

Malaysia Airlines B747-400 9M-MPH by Adrian Pingstone

The new JV aims to increase the carriers’ share on the growing Australia – Europe market routing through South East Asia. The JV is yet to be finalized, and will be in effect from IATA Northern Summer season of 2011.

The two airlines currently codeshare on each others’ flights to a range of destinations that includes Europe as well as South Fast Asia and Australia.

Both MAS and KLM fly daily between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur, with a Boeing 747-400 and a 777-300ER respectively. MAS MD & CEO, Tengku Azmil, stated to The Networker that the carrier is looking at adding more European codeshare destinations, in addition to the ones already codeshared, as part of the JV.

Perhaps, one striking signal of this JV, just like the recent developments at Jet Airways, is the alignment towards SkyTeam. While there has no concrete words on this from either parties, this fits in well with SkyTeam’s goal of expanding its presence.

MAS currently codeshares with 31 airlines, of which four ( AZ, CZ, KL, KE ) are already SkyTeam alliance members ( with Garuda to join soon ). But one must not forget that MAS’ codeshare partners also include ten Star Alliance carriers – although MAS is yet to sign any JVs with any of them.

Back in 2006, MAS explored the possibility of joining SkyTeam, but later decided on the Project MOSAIC ( MAS Overall Strategic Alliance Integration Concept ) with the intention of reaping the maximum benefit from its own network while staying non-aligned. Project MOSAIC is a part of the MAS’ Business Turnaround Plan which should run till 2012.

When asked about a possible signalling of an entry to SkyTeam, by The Networker, Tengku stated that ” The JV with KLM is standalone and can be part of an alliance or otherwise.” .. “We are open to an alliance at the right time. More cooperation is good.”

Times ahead for MAS, sure do look interesting !

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