Thursday, November 30, 2017

Jet’s deal with Air France-KLM could put Etihad in the shade

Mumbai: Jet Airways and Air France-KLM signed an agreement that will potentially give the Indian carrier unrestricted access to Europe and North America and could, according to experts, reduce the scope of its existing partnership with Etihad Airways.
Jet’s chairman Naresh Goyal didn’t rule out the possibility of a stake sale in future, although he and other top executives clarified that no discussions on a strategic partnership were currently on. Etihad has a 24% stake in Jet that it bought in November 2013.

The “metal neutrality” pact will see the airlines aligning inventory and networks and selling one another’s tickets linking sales and distribution networks and frequent flyer programmes.

Goyal called it a “very good” partnership, adding that both sides had been “flirting for a long time without getting married,” referring to talks that have been going on for more than a year.
Air France-KLM chairman Jean-Marc Janaillac said, “Air France-KLM and Jet Airways are launching the first cooperation agreement of its kind on the India-Europe market— one of the markets at the heart of the group’s strategy for the coming years.”
At a later stage, the airlines will look at synergies on maintenance and joint fuel purchases, Goyal said. Air France-KLM is one of the world’s biggest providers of aircraft and engine maintenance services. “When you are married, you go all the way,” he said, extending the metaphor without giving details.
When asked about the tie-up maturing into a strategic partnership, as had been in the news for months, Goyal said, “You don’t know what happens in the future.” KLM Royal Dutch Airlines CEO Pieter Elbers said the two sides had come a long way and there would be the “right steps at the right time.”
30/11/17 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times