Executives from both airlines have stated their intent to strengthen Air France-KLM’s collaboration with IndiGo, the largest airline in India. This comes at the same time as Air India, which is owned by the Tata group, announced it would begin service to Amsterdam.
We’re investigating options for growing IndiGo’s international service in the Indian Ocean region. “We’re still working on it, but demand is high, so it’s necessary,” Claude Sarre, general manager of the Indian subcontinent, said.
Both Air France-KLM and IndiGo began selling seats on each other’s flights via a codeshare agreement in 2022. This allowed the European airline group to sell seats on IndiGo’s flights on over 300 routes, and it allowed Air France and KLM to offer service to passengers in 30 additional Indian locations.
During a codeshare flight, one airline promotes the services of another. Thanks to this arrangement, passengers can fly to more places than ever before. Your ticket will be issued with the flight number of the airline you select during booking, even if another airline is responsible for the actual flight.
“This codesharing is very important to make the customer more interested and less scared, very important to develop the domestic market,” Sarre said.
If the present intentions to increase codeshare are realised, a passenger flying from Amsterdam or Paris to Chennai or Bengaluru would be able to transfer to an IndiGo flight to reach their final destination, which could be Colombo in Sri Lanka.
To ensure the present codeshare operates successfully and to facilitate the creation of alluring international connections with little transit time, the European airline company is working with IndiGo to synchronise its back-end and information technology processes.
It’s worth noting that Air France-KLM’s codeshare agreement with IndiGo was inked while Pieter Elbers was KLM’s president. In September 2022, Elbers became IndiGo’s CEO, and since then, he has been viewed as a major thinker pushing the company’s expansion plans across Europe.
Air France-KLM has no intentions to increase its ties with other airlines at this time, and instead intends to concentrate on improving its collaboration with IndiGo. There is already an interline agreement in existence between Air France-KLM and Vistara.
There is a lot of IT development, therefore we need to consolidate our efforts with IndiGo first. While we do have an interline with Air India’s Vistara, we do not earn miles on any airline,” Sarre explained.
Both Air France, with its Paris hub, and KLM, with its Amsterdam hub, anticipate improved service and shorter lines at respective airports for departing customers this summer.
The future for India seems bright.
Since post-covid, demand in India has skyrocketed. Gross domestic product is a crucial indicator of demand in the coming months and years. In order to send more planes to India, we will have to make certain adjustments,” Sarre remarked.
Both KLM and Air France identify India as a key market. Christiaan van de Koppel, commercial director of the Indian subcontinent, asserted that this was the case, citing both history and future developments.
The airline is keeping a close eye on Air India’s expansion after placing a new order for 470 jets, comprising 70 wide-body planes and 400 narrow-body planes.
“What’s more interesting to see is what they do with the (400) medium-haul aircraft,” Koppel added.
Having considered a substantial cooperation with an Indian airline before, Air France-KLM is doing so again. The company and the defunct full-service airline Jet Airways entered into a joint venture agreement in 2017.