Kenya Airways bets on JVs to grow Europe market share

By Kepha Muiruri For Citizen Digital

National carrier Kenya Airways is keen on enhancing its grip as one of Africa’s top airliner in Europe through a new venture with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air France.

The French airliner has already made its first contribution to this venture by re-launch its presence in the East African region by launching a new Nairobi-Paris flight.

Air France’s return will see the carrier operate three weekly flights to add to the already existing seven by Kenya Airways.  

Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz during an investor briefing  

Customers plying the Nairobi-Paris and Amsterdam-Nairobi routes will be able to reserve flights operated on a code-sharing basis by the three airlines in the venture.

Speaking during the launch of the Air France flights to Kenya, Kenya Airways chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz expressed his optimism on the new venture saying the move would consolidate the Kenya Airways capacity in the European market.

“I am convinced this is a benefit to Kenya Airways. This is a long-lasting, longstanding joint venture,” Mr Mikosz said.

The entry of Air France brings together a three-way venture, aimed at increasing market share for African travelers headed to Europe.

Mr Mikosz further tipped future ventures to enhance growth for Kenya’s largest airliner.

“We are also working on having other ventures with other carriers. Today Air France is joining this venture and by so doing, I consider them more of a partner than a competitor,” Mr Mikosz added.

Joint partnerships have becoming a common attribute in today’s aviation industry with airlines forging partnerships in moves aimed at enhancing capacity for airlines in new market ventures.

Air France Senior Vice President for Africa, Frank Legre sadthe well-established relationship between KLM and Kenya Airways has made it easier for Air France to ease into the jointed venture.

“Through KLM we knew very much about Kenya as KLM has been flying to Kenya since 1969, altogether this lead us to the process of working together on how to re-introduce Air France in the country,” Mr Legre said. The launch of the Nairobi-Paris flight by Air France marks the return of the French carrier in the region since departure in the year 2000.

The joint venture will enable the three airlines to align and co-ordinate on network management activities including terms of routes, schedules and capacity. The three airlines will also be able to conduct marketing and sales activities, align and coordinate pricing of tickets as well as exchange of staff in select areas.