, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 13 – Kenya Airways has expanded its cooperation with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines within East Africa, following the signing of joint venture agreement.
The cooperation for both passenger and cargo business will allow KLM and Kenya Airways jointly implement further commercial synergies, optimize networks and schedules to better jointly serve these markets and further enhance customer experience and travel options.
The expanded cooperation will be effective from January 1, 2014, and the two carriers will add four new routes to the current arrangement, thus increasing the total KLM-Kenya Airways joint venture to a total of six routes.
Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni said the expanded joint venture will be a significant boost to the existing benefit-sharing model between the two carriers.
“The successful cooperation between KLM and Kenya Airways dates back to 1995. In 1997, we initiated a joint venture on the Amsterdam-Nairobi route, and in 2008, expanded the joint venture with the addition to flights between JKIA and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. Currently, Kenya Airways and KLM operate a daily service between Schiphol Amsterdam Airport and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi,” he explained.
The airlines jointly operate 19 weekly return flights between The Netherlands, France and Kenya.
Naikuni revealed that from next year, the cooperation will be expanded through the addition of the London-Nairobi; Amsterdam-Entebbe/ Kigali route; Amsterdam-Lusaka and Harare routes; and the Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro/Dar-es-Salam route, the latter subject to regulatory approval.
“This will bring the total number of frequencies operated jointly by Kenya Airways and KLM to approximately 44 weekly flights with combined revenues exceeding US$500 million (Sh43.1 billion),” he said.
The enhanced cooperation is geared towards optimizing the longstanding relationship, with the ultimate objective of doubling the amount of frequencies between Europe and the East African continent.
“We saw a tremendous development of our route network particularly in the early years of the joint venture by focusing our attention through only limited hubs in Europe, allowing our expansion in Africa. This next phase consolidates our capability to serve our guests across the region and into Europe and beyond,” he said.
On his part KLM’s Chief Operating Officer, Pieter Elbers said the expansion of the joint venture will enable them to take the cooperation to a new level.
“This new step will provide our passengers with a more extensive network in this important part of the world,” Elbers said.
The Air France KLM Group currently operates 42 destinations in Africa, besides holding a 26.73 percent stake in Kenya Airways.
The number of KLM destinations on the African continent has grown over the years, reaching 15 different key cities.
Together with Kenya Airways, a grand total of 43 destinations are being served between Eastern Africa and Europe. Further and continuous expansion on the African continent is a cornerstone for the Air France KLM Group.
Together with partner Kenya Airways KLM will further consolidate its position in this rapidly growing and strategic market, through the expansion of code share routes and the opening of additional ones.