Airline alliances are now part of the industry strategy to offer passengers an extended network while increasing operational efficiencies and revenue collection.
However, many critics have viewed the Kenya Airways/KLM partnership with doubt, partly blaming the latter for encroaching on KQ’s lucrative African routes in East and West Africa.
The Kenyan carrier entered into a partnership with KLM in 1995 and initiated a joint venture on the Amsterdam-Nairobi route in 1997.
The partnership was to offer code-sharing agreements, where the two airlines would share the same flight, listing it in both their reservation systems, making booking easier and moving between connections more efficient.
Ten years later, the two airlines expanded the joint venture with the addition to flights between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
Currently, the airlines jointly operate 19 weekly return flights between the Netherlands, France and Kenya. They also have a daily service between Schiphol Amsterdam Airport and JKIA.
In 2014, they added another co-operation that mostly involved African routes. The co-operation was expanded through the addition of the London – Nairobi; Amsterdam –Entebbe/ Kigali route; Amsterdam – Lusaka and Harare routes; and the Amsterdam-Kilimanjaro/Dar es Salaam route.
The expanded co-operation saw the two carriers add four new routes to the current arrangement, thus increasing the total KLM – Kenya Airways joint venture to six routes.
This brought the total number of frequencies operated jointly by Kenya Airways and KLM to approximately 44 weekly flights with combined revenues of more than $500 million.
KLM is now operating flights to East and West Africa and has been accused of going against an agreement with the national carrier on route termination.
Dar, Entebbe capacity
In March, it announced its intention to increase its capacity to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Entebbe (Uganda). Both destinations are served non-stop three times a week from Amsterdam, Schiphol, providing new connecting opportunities to Europe and North America in particular.
KLM also said that it was strengthening its co-operation with its partner Kenya Airways by offering new connections to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean, as a continuation of the service to JKIA, which boasts new airport facilities.
The SkyTeam airlines serve destinations throughout North, South, East and West Africa with connections from Europe and non-stop service to the continent from China, Asia, the US and the Middle East.
Within Africa, Kenya Airways as a Sky Team member operates a comprehensive network of flights to 68 destinations in 46 countries, while in Europe it has access to more than 43 destinations in UK, Turkey, Netherlands, France and Italy.