Air France-KLM Group has formally commenced its strategic partnership with logistics specialist CMA CGM Group, originally disclosed last year.

The 10-year tie-up will involve Air France-KLM’s Martinair Cargo division combine its network and freighter capacity with that of CMA CGM’s air cargo operation.

Air France-KLM says the agreement has received all necessary approvals from regulators.

“The partnership will help meet customers’ ever-increasing need for more integrated and resilient supply chains,” it states.

Under the agreement the two companies will jointly operate up to a dozen dedicated freighters. CMA CGM Air Cargo has six – and another six pending – which will initially be stationed at Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Air France-KLM will supply the other six, based at Paris and Amsterdam Schiphol. The company has orders for eight additional aircraft intended for fleet replacement.

But the tie-up also covers cargo hold capacity on the Air France-KLM passenger fleet, which includes some 160 long-haul jets.

cma cgm A350F-c-CMA CGM

Source: CMA CGM

Both operators are modernising their cargo fleets with Airbus A350 freighters

“The combined offering will allow them to benefit from greater freighter and belly capacity, a more extensive network of destinations, a mix of scheduled and charter flights, improved transit times and flexibility, as well as tailored connections across the world,” says Air France-KLM.

“Customers will benefit from enhanced customer support thanks to a global network of agencies, and a specialised service desk will address specific requirements.”

Air France-KLM says the agreement will capitalise on its “vast” air cargo capabilities while benefiting from the global logistics platform provided by CMA CGM.

“It will accelerate the expansion of our cargo business – a strategic activity for the Air France-KLM Group – by opening up a wide range of new opportunities, in terms of offerings, destinations and solutions to our customers,” says executive vice-president for cargo Adriaan Den Heijer.

CMA CGM Air Cargo has become France’s “leading full-freighter airline” with its fleet of six, says the carrier’s chief executive, Guillaume Lathelize. “The company has demonstrated its flexibility and agility with scheduled services and charter solutions for key logistics players,” he adds. “Our partnership will combine the best of both worlds.”