Pieter Elbers, President and CEO, KLM. Photo: Bloomberg
New Delhi: Air France-KLM, which signed an enhanced cooperation agreement with Jet Airways (India) Ltd last year, wants to deepen its cooperation with the Indian airline to achieve an expected double digit growth in the air travel markets of India and North America, KLM & # 39 ; s president and chief executive officer Pieter Elbers said Wednesday.
"First we put connections and code sharing on each other's network, and now we are taking it (the alliance with Jet Airways) to a higher level in the area of customer interface," said Elbers on the sidelines of the International Aviation Summit-India in New Delhi.
Air France-KLM and Jet Airways are also working to fine-tune their frequent flyer program, he said.
The November 2017 pact between Jet Airways and Air France-KLM gave the Mumbai-based airline more access to Europe and North America, where millions of expatriate Indians live. For Air France-KLM, the partnership strengthened their access to the Indian market, one of the fastest growing ones in the world.
Elbers said he was "surprised" at the speed with which the Air France-KLM alliance with Jet Airways has developed.
"If you see today the level of maturity and cooperation compared to the amount of time it took to build alliances in the US and China, I am very impressed with the speed with which we are making progress and the efforts of Jet Airways, "Elbers said.
Air France-KLM sees Jet Airways as an integral partner to connect India with the US via hubs in Amsterdam and the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris.
"Everyone knows that there is a huge influx of passengers from India and the US The use of our hubs in Amsterdam and CDG, which are two of the strongest hubs in Europe and connect them directly to the Jet Airways network, helps us, "said Elbers.
"We now have a strong position in the markets in Europe, the US and India, and we have seen double-digit growth (in the Indian and American markets)," he added.
However, Elbers did not comment on the current financial situation of Jet Airways. He also did not say whether Air France-KLM is interested in investing or buying an interest in Jet Airways.
"The Indian domestic market is huge, and at the end of the day it is our job as aviation managers to enable people to travel between Amritsar, an Indian city and a city in Denmark," Elbers said. "This is a great opportunity to use the domestic network of Jet Airways." A Jet Airways spokesman declined to comment.