Now it is the turn of Air France and Singapore Airlines (SIA) to link their networks.
The aim is to offer travellers easier connectivity via their hubs of Paris CDG and Singapore.
Both are following in the footsteps of the Lufthansa Group which is working closely with its Asian counterparts to counter their powerful Gulf-based rivals.
In the case of Air France and SIA it will mean that passengers departing a number of European cities (with Air France) will make easier transfers in Singapore. Those departing Singapore with SIA will find that making transfers at Paris CDG will also be easier.
Air France will place its AF code on SIA flights to Melbourne and Sydney and on Silk Air (one of SIA’s regional subsidiary’s) to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket (Thailand) for travellers via Singapore.
In return SIA’s code (SQ) will appear on Air France connections via Paris CDG to 10 destinations. These are: Aberdeen, Bordeaux, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Newcastle, Nice and Toulouse.
It must be stressed that this news broke only a few hours ago. Both carriers want to start this linkage as soon as April 27 but government approval is still required.
Also both have yet (at the time of writing) to agree on reciprocal opportunities between their relevant FFPs (frequent flyer programmes).
It is true that the initial range of available destinations is limited. But both carriers stress that co-operation is at an early stage so we can look forward to better things.
Patrick Roux, senior VP alliances at Air France 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.”
Adds Tan Kai Ping, SIA’s senior VP, marketing planning, “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 European market.”
So once again we find that two leading airlines of two rival alliances are working together.
Now we have Air France (Skyteam) working with SIA (Star Alliance).
The short notice given by this latest partnership would suggest both are rushing to compete with what Lufthansa has done (with its various linkages with Asian carriers including, ironically, SIA) but it also shows the competitive pressure both carriers are now facing from the Gulf airlines.
Both in Europe and Asia the Gulf carriers have expanded to include secondary destinations and therefore can offer competitive one-stop schedules.
So travellers based in Nice or Edinburgh can still reach Asia with one en route stop (in the Gulf).
Interestingly, from the UK viewpoint, the Air France and SIA links cover Aberdeen and Edinburgh so travellers from/to these Scottish cities now have an alternative to Flybe as their domestic connector to London.
Business Traveller will update readers when more information becomes available.