Interview with Antoine Pussiau, Managing Director Asia Pacific Air France-KLM about the airline’s strategy in Asia. The Air France-KLM group is one of the main European carriers to Asia with 12 countries and 18 destinations.
Antoine Pussiau- Today, the Air France-KLM group serves 12 countries in Asia-Pacific with 196 weekly flights, representing 18 destinations. In 2018 we carried 5.6 million pax and in the first six months of 2019 we achieved a 4% growth in passenger traffic. Asia’s share of total AFKL revenue was 15% and remained stable.
Competition is a positive factor for both airlines and their customers and we are facing it all over the world. We are not used to comment on the strategies of our competitors, but we are adapting to them. We offer many advantages such as the density of our flight schedule with daily direct flights. We have a dual hub strategy linking Asia to Amsterdam and Paris and to the entire Air France and KLM network (more than 1,000 destinations thanks to our Skyteam partners). The AF-KL group is the market leader in terms of market share of seats offered between Europe and Asia Pacific. Our strategy is also based on our partnership agreements with Asian companies such as China Eastern, China Eastern, Vietnam Airlines but also Qantas and Korean Air.
The most dynamic countries in terms of air transport are China, Japan and Korea. The overall supply between China and Europe (excluding Russia) increased by 11% in the first half of the year, but supply still exceeds demand. Japan and Korea are markets that remain very dynamic and in which we have invested in recent years. We saw a 13% growth in passengers carried for Japan and a 6% growth in Korea during the first half of 2019.
Our group is the European leader in terms of seats offered between Europe and China. In fact, Greater China is the second largest international market after the United States. In 2019, we operate to eight destinations with 85 weekly flights and even 130 weekly flights with our partners. Despite the closure of the Guangzhou line, our strategy is to continue to explore all opportunities to develop the Chinese market, in particular through strategic cooperation with Chinese partners. Our joint venture with China Eastern has been renewed for a period of five years, now including Paris-Wuhan and Paris-Kunming in addition to Paris-Shanghai and Amsterdam-Shanghai. The joint venture with China Southern and Xiamen Airlines is in place until the end of 2021.
Air France KLM is increasing its capacity by nearly 25% compared to last winter. Since September, KLM has added two additional frequencies between Mumbai and Amsterdam. This will be the fourth frequency on this road. It will become daily on October 28th in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Air France is increasing its capacity with the extension of flights from Mumbai and Bangalore to Paris-Charles de Gaulle with the operation of Boeing 777. From 28 October, KLM will launch a direct service three times a week from Bangalore to Amsterdam. They will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 with a capacity of 294 seats. We also have agreements with Air India and Vistara that allow us to serve most destinations in India.
What is new for Air France-KLM in Southeast Asia ?
KLM increased since October 29 its frequencies to Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta from 4 to 6 weekly services with a three-class configurated Boeing 777-300ER.
KLM will operate on a daily basis -instead of six weekly frequencies- the route Amsterdam-Singapore-Denpasar, starting from December 19. Aircraft is either a Boeing777-200ER or Boeing 777-300ER.
KLM increased in October frequencies to Manila via Taipei from 3 weekly services to 4 to 5 depending of the month. Flight is served by a Boeing 777-300ER.
Air France will introduce its newest Airbus A350-900 between Paris and Bangkok from spring time. Bangkok will be the first city in Southeast Asia served with the aircraft.