Counterbalancing their cooperation within their respective alliances, Air France-KLM and Singapore Airlines signed an important code-share agreement which could be further expanded. Indonesia however could objected to any extension of the agreement to its territory.
Air France-KLM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and regional subsidiary SilkAir to codeshare on each other’s flights as of April 27, 2017, subject to regulatory approvals from authorities. However, there is little objection to emerge from that agreement.
Air France will then add its ‘AF’ designator code to Singapore Airlines-operated flights beyond Singapore to Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), as well as on SilkAir-operated flights to Kuala Lumpur, Penang (Malaysia) and Phuket (Thailand). On a reciprocal basis, Singapore Airlines will add its ‘SQ’ designator code to Air France-operated flights beyond Paris-Charles de Gaulle to 10 destinations – Aberdeen, Bordeaux, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Newcastle, Nice and Toulouse.
Airlines will be able to offer their customers seamless transfers on their shared routes with only one booking and a one-stop luggage check-in through to their final destination.
Air France and Singapore Airlines will later on explore the opportunity to expand the codeshare to other airlines within their respective groups. The agreement is intended to provide customers more options and seamless connectivity when travelling between Europe, South East Asia and Australia. They will also examine the possibility for Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue and Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer members to earn and redeem miles when travelling on the codeshare flight segments.
Patrick Roux, Senior Vice-President Alliances of Air France-KLM group stated: “This new agreement is excellent news for our airline and for our customers. It will significantly improve the connections for Air France customers from Singapore to Australia. This kind of partnership is part of our aim to expand our market position and increase our range of destinations for our customers all around the world.”
Mr Tan Kai Ping, Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, said: “We are delighted with our new partnership with Air France-KLM, which offers significant benefits to customers through enhanced connections and increased code-share destinations. In addition, this new agreement provides a strong foundation for future commercial co-operation opportunities between our two airline groups. It is also another example of our commitment to the Singapore hub and the European market.”
The code-share agreement stands however in contradiction with agreements signed within both airlines’ memberships with alliances. Air France-KLM is a founding member of Skyteam and its natural partner should normally be Indonesian carrier Garuda Indonesia, a member of the alliance.
However, congestion at Jakarta Airport – which makes the airport rather unreliable for an efficient hub operation- and a lack of flights between Air France-KLM and Garuda Indonesia (they are only flights to Amsterdam but no service to Paris) put Jakarta at a disadvantage compared to Singapore as it would require passengers to change at least twice aircraft on most air routes…
Singapore Airlines as a member of Star Alliance recently signed an extensive agreement with Lufthansa for a Joint Venture and the new deal with Air France could be seen as unfair competition. But Star Alliance rules are relatively open to its members which benefit of flexibility to conclude partnerships outside the alliance.
If the code-share agreement between Air France-KLM and SIA group is extended at a later stage, it is unlikely that it would however cover destinations in Indonesia as the government continues to protect Garuda Indonesia. Authorities just deny code share flights to Lufthansa on its new JV with Singapore Airlines as well as fifth freedom traffic rights for a Singapore-Jakarta-Sydney air route…