Friday, December 24, 2021

IndiGo’s codeshare with Air France-KLM could upset its partnership with Turkish

IndiGo and the Air France-KLM combine announced a codeshare on December 23 as the year is drawing to a close. Neither the choice of timing nor the partnership was surprising.

Since its first codeshare with Turkish Airlines in late 2018, IndiGo has steadily added partnerships. IndiGo, the largest Indian airline, announced a codeshare (an arrangement in which one airline markets and sells tickets and the other operates flights) with American Airlines a few weeks ago, though that partnership hasn’t been operationalised yet.

The arrangement will open up 25 destinations in India for Air France-KLM customers while IndiGo customers will get access to over 120 destinations in Europe and 50 in the Americas. Let’s take a deeper look at the arrangement.

Air France operates flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai from Paris while KLM operates to Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. The flights now are under the air bubble arrangement and restricted in terms of capacity or frequency, but the traffic has been growing multi-fold on the sector.

Air France-KLM had a long-standing partnership with Jet Airways, preparing to take off under new owners, which had a transit hub at Amsterdam and also operated to Paris. With the fall of Jet Airways, both Air France and KLM expanded to India by upping the capacity and adding destinations.

Yet the void left by Jet Airways which helped connect traffic beyond the top three or four cities was possibly lost to competition. That was because the competition had better partnerships in the country to offer connections at Delhi or Mumbai.

Two and half years after the suspension of Jet Airways, the Air France-KLM combine has announced a new partner in the form of IndiGo to codeshare and increase the reach to 25 destinations in India! The choice again was limited.

The Air France-KLM combine competes with Lufthansa (a Star Alliance member) and British Airways (A Oneworld member) for traffic to EU and North America from India, in addition to the middle eastern carriers. Both Lufthansa and British Airways have a codeshare partnership with Vistara.

24/12/21 Ameya Joshi/Moneycontrol

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