Air France and national carrier Vietnam Airlines have signed a joint-venture (JV) agreement. It will take effect on November 1.
In separate news, it is also understood, according to Reuters, that Air France is in advanced talks with India’s Jet Airways for another similar agreement.
What does all this mean for the passenger?
Firstly, there will be the range of Skyteam alliance benefits and services.
Secondly, although JV’s can lead to keener prices they are really all about improving scheduling and connectivity. The JV will see a collaboration in the flight schedules of the two airlines with passengers able to travel to 50 destinations in Europe on Air France’s routes (compared to 14 destinations today) and Vietnam’s 20 destinations on Vietnam Airlines’ routes. France is one of the biggest and most important markets for Vietnam Airlines in Europe and it has up to 10 flights per week between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Paris. Air France serves Ho Chi Minh City three times a week from its Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub by Boeing 777.
Both Air France and Vietnam Airlines also promise better connectivity for their hubs at Paris CDG, Hanoi-Noi Bai and Ho Chi Minh City-Tan Son Nhat. The JV also sees improved connections for flights proceeding beyond France to the rest of Europe and beyond Vietnam to other points in Asia.
Why the need for a JV ?
Airlines are coy when you ask them why they need to link in this way, but in truth the idea behind a JV is to meet competition from rivals and, in this case, it is the Gulf carriers.
As Business Traveller has explained many times before, the Gulf airlines have become a potent force in Europe-Asia aviation by serving not just the main but also secondary destinations.
Having a JV provides Air France and Vietnam airlines with a better chance of competing.
- See our comprehensive review airline JVs “Marriage of convenience” in the October issue of Business Traveller.