Air France-KLM places new emphasis on Asia and Middle East

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Air France-KLM is seeking to strengthen ties with Asian and Middle Eastern partners in order to bring these up to the same level as its transatlantic joint venture with Delta Air Lines, as part of its new “Perform 2020” strategic plan.

“We are looking east,” chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said during a conference call with investors today. This means, for us, focusing our efforts on Asia in order to get a significant amount of the growth [of traffic] in that part of the world.”

De Juniac says that under the new strategic realignment, Air France-KLM will seek to expand its codeshare with Etihad Airways and deepen its partnerships with Jet Airways and Xiamen Airlines and its joint ventures with China Eastern Airlines and China Southern, in a bid to grab a bigger share of traffic from emerging economies.

“Our western flank is properly consolidated through the joint venture we have with Delta and the partnership we have with Gol, which is very robust, very profitable for all partners.

“To the east, we have started developing some partnerships with the Chinese [and] with Etihad and Japan Airlines at the moment. Those partnerships could be significantly consolidated to reach the same level of co-operation and efficiency we have on the Atlantic.”

Overall, Air France-KLM is to add 2% long-haul capacity this year, with a 9% increase on routes to South America and a 3% rise on North American routes but a 1% reduction on Asia-Pacific services.

The new emphasis on Asia and the Middle East is part of Perform 2020, a new strategic plan that to replace Transform 2015, which de Juniac says is reaching successful completion.