This has been a long time coming thing, but somehow it is still in the air. Jet Airways has been, sort of, a complimentary partner for KLM/Air France, who have been operating flights to India off and on for years. Jet Airways and Air France codeshare on daily flights from Mumbai to Paris, one taking the day flight, and other the night departure.
Delta used to fly to Mumbai from New York/Detroit/Atlanta (I’ve lost count where all they changed origins from), via Amsterdam. They discontinued service to Mumbai a while back.
Jet Airways, on the other hand, put a hold on international expansion earlier and adopted a new tack where it moved closer to the 3 SkyTeam Alliance Airlines. Earlier this year, they moved out of Brussels (after pondering over the years) and moved into Amsterdam, where they now operate flights from Mumbai and Delhi. The Mumbai – Amsterdam sector is going to get a B77W later this year, while Delhi-Amsterdam will get a B77W early next year. Beyond that, Jet Airways killed its flights to New York (it used to operate one to Newark and New York JFK each) and San Francisco over a period of time, and as a result now does not have any connectivity onto the US of A on its own metal as of now.
Jet Airways’ instead partnered with Delta/KLM to offer flights to 11 stations in the US & Canada from its changeover point in Amsterdam. However, they haven’t had a frequent flier partnership since 2012 when Delta terminated it.
Like you see, this had all the makings of a Joint Venture, and a Joint Venture has been talked about for years. However, it now seems that all of it might all be falling in place over the next months. As per Business Standard:
Jet Airways is negotiating a joint venture (JV) agreement with Air France-KLM to expand its commercial co-operation with the European airline network.
The report further states:
According to airline sources, Jet signed a memorandum of understanding with Air France-KLM about two weeks ago to form a JV. The proposed JV will cover routes in India, Europe and North America but finer details are still to be worked out, sources added.
Jet Airways also fine-tuned the timing of its Mumbai – Paris flight to be able to offer further connections from Paris. The new flight time is:
9W124 BOM0245 – 0820CDG A333 D
9W123 CDG1130 – 0040 (+1) A333 D
This now means the flight leaves shortly after the flight of Air France from Mumbai, which leaves at 02:10 AM and starts the flight back at 10:50 AM to Mumbai. This opens up many additional possibilities for Jet Airways to be able to connect passengers on Delta and Air France onwards to North America. As per a Delta release:
Jet Airways will codeshare on Delta’s complete offering from and to 13 destinations in North America via Paris-Charles de Gaulle namely Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City and Seattle.
Jet Airways will also, subject to government approvals, codeshare on Air France’s flights to 12 destinations in North America, including: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Washington in the U.S.; Vancouver and Montreal, Canada; and Mexico City, Mexico.
This does not stop at Paris however, the partnership in Amsterdam will increase as well:
Through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Jet Airways will codeshare to nine additional points between North America to Amsterdam operated by Delta and KLM, bringing the total to 19 points. The additional destinations include: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Mexico City, Mexico.
Subject to government approvals, Jet Airways will also codeshare to 10 cities within the U.S. operated from and to Delta’s U.S. hubs to the following destinations – Austin, Charlotte, Columbus, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis and Tampa
Full Frequent Flyer Mileage Reciprocity on the cards
Hidden in the fine print, Delta also states that SkyMiles & JetPrivilege will start to offer the ability to have network-wide, reciprocal mileage earning & redemption privileges.
While there is news still in the air that Jet Airways could possibly get back to the American shores with a B77W direct service to New York, and a fly East service via Shanghai (again?), along with addition of more routes to Amsterdam or Paris, this joint venture, if it is happening, totally makes sense to all parties. Essentially, this will see Jet Airways/Delta/KLM-Air France share all the costs and revenues on these flights (Air France to Mumbai and KLM to Delhi included), and since all the costs and revenue are being shared, it does not matter whose plane flies because all the flights are coordinated on the network, schedules and prices. However, it does require the blessings of the governments of the various countries as well.
Endgame will be Jet Airways/Skyteam trying to collaborate against the United/Lufthansa JV. I wouldn’t understand however why would Jet Airways not just go ahead and join Skyteam already given their closeness to some of the major players in SkyTeam.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this Joint Venture happens anytime? Or is it just going to be another time with an expanded commercial partnership?