Air France-KLM and Delta form transatlantic joint venture


Paris : Europe’s largest airline, Air France-KLM, and US carrier Delta Airlines have agreed to a joint venture involving transatlantic flights, the French-Dutch airline announced Wednesday in Paris.

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The partnership will cover 25 percent of all transatlantic flights and “will be an essential element in competing with the two other large alliances present on the market”, Air France-KLM said in a press statement, referring to partnerships around British Airways and Lufthansa.

The annual turnover of the joint venture is estimated at $12 billion and will offer more than 200 transatlantic flights a day.

In addition to routes between North America and Europe, the partnership will offer flights between Amsterdam and India as well as between North America and Tahiti.

“On these routes, the strategies will be closely coordinated and the earnings and costs will be divided equally between Air France-KLM and Delta,” the airline said.

The partnership was made possible by the Open Sky agreement signed by European and American leaders in 2007, and includes Delta’s subsidiary Northwest Airlines, but not Italian carrier Alitalia, which is partially owned by Air France-KLM.

The agreement is to run for an unlimited period. However, after 10 years it can be ended with a notice of three years in advance.

Despite Air France-KLM’s announcement Tuesday of a loss of 814 million euros ($1.1 billion) for fiscal year 2008-2009, investors saw the agreement as a boon for the airline and bid up its share price by nearly 10 percent, to 11.15 euros, in morning trading on the Paris Bourse.