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Jet Airways joining hands with Air France-KLM, US carrier Delta Air Lines

Economic Times:  September 27, 2016

MUMBAI: Jet AirwaysBSE -3.17 % is forming an extensive transatlantic venture with Air France-KLM and US carrier Delta Air Lines, as the now-profitable Indian airline charts its own global expansion plans exclusive of those in alliance with its powerful shareholder partner, Etihad Airways.

Air France-KLM and Delta, along with Alitalia, have the world's biggest transatlantic pact offering more than 250 daily flights to the Americas. The venture that Jet is entering into will have codeshare agreements, joint frequent flyer programmes and other synergies, as well as give the airline access to over 40 points in the US, the biggest air travel market, a person in the know said.

Jet Airways joining hands with Air France-KLM, US carrier Delta Air Lines A new codeshare agreement with Delta will give Jet access to 13 international airports and 10 domestic destinations in the US via Paris. It will get access to about eight more points in the US via Paris from the deal with Air France.

Jet already has codeshare pacts with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta that give it access to 10 points in the US via its new western hub in Amsterdam. That will be expanded to cover nine more.

"India and US have an open sky agreement. As a network carrier with international operations, Jet Airways is constantly evaluating opportunities to offer greater connectivity to its guests," said a Jet spokesman.

"Any specific developments including codeshares, will be communicated at an appropriate time," he added.

In a recent announcement, the airline said it was going to revise its flight timings to Paris, which would give its passengers easier access to destinations including Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, San Francisco, Washington, Vancouver, Montreal and Mexico City in North America. The airline is also considering its own flights to New York.

In an interview to ET in June, KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said his airline will work with Jet to derive synergies on groundhandling, engineering, etc.

The person who spoke to ET said Jet's focus has now completely shifted to its hub in Amsterdam.

Whole-time director Gaurang Shetty is said to be fronting the airline's transatlantic expansion drive and the joint venture agreement in particular. Jet recently said it was deploying its Boeing 777 plane to Amsterdam. The airline now connects Mumbai and Delhi to Amsterdam. It may connect Bengaluru to Amsterdam and Chennai to Paris.

The joint venture and expansion show Jet has started taking independent calls for its global expansion, instead of depending on the global network of Etihad which owns a 24% stake in the Indian airline. Jet has agreements that connect it to six points in the US via Abu Dhabi, Etihad's base.

Also, while Jet has increased capacity to Abu Dhabi, it is aggressively expanding to other short-haul international destinations as well. It is now the biggest carrier to Dubai with 70 flights per week. It is also planning to operate wide-bodied Boeing 777 planes to other middle-eastern destinations such as Dammam and Muscat.

A spokesperson for Etihad said it would not comment for this story.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.