Kenya Airways, Air France KLM Group sever Africa-Europe JV
Kenya Airways and Air France KLM Group will terminate their Africa-Europe joint venture partnership from effective September 2021, bringing to an end their 23-year cohabitation.
Describing the decision as mutual, the carrier today said in a statement that pact had been previously put on hold for calendar 2020 “mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent unpredictability of return to normalcy in operations.”
“Kenya Airways will continue to serve the Europe market through its gateways of London, Paris, Amsterdam with Rome slated for resumption from 2021. These routes will be served by onward codeshares from the Air France KLM group and additionally with our ever-expanding network of European carriers including Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, and Swiss International Airlines amongst others,” the airline added.
The cooperation started twenty-three years ago after Dutch carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines bought a 26pc stake in Kenya Airways back in 1997. The infusion of capital and management skills set the Kenyan carrier onto a positive growth trajectory transforming it into one of the most recognizable airline brands globally. Besides coordinated operations and fares on the Africa-Europe sector, the airline was able to grow its African network and expand into Asia and more recently the United States.
However, a series of missteps a decade ago including a poorly executed expansion project, plunged the airline deep into debt and loss, prompting the government to buy back the carrier and creditors converting part of their debt into equity.