Air France-KLM seeks Indian partner

Tuesday, 23 November 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Europe’s largest airline, Air France-KLM, is looking for an Indian partner to open new routes and hopes to announce news soon, chief executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told La Tribune.

“We are looking for (a partner) to whom we would bring the European market -- and possibly the American market with Delta -- and who would bring us the Indian market,” Gourgeon said.

He added: “We hope to announce good news soon.”

Gourgeon called for what he described as unfair competition from Middle Eastern carriers to be addressed.

Gourgeon spoke about the big ambitions of Middle Eastern airlines, saying they had an unfair advantage over their European competitors because of the lack of social charges and taxes in their home countries.

Emirates Airline boosted its A380 orders to 90 aircraft in June.

Gourgeon said he wanted “traffic rights no longer to be awarded to these companies while they enjoy an unacceptable competitive advantage which, in our view, leads to a distortion of competition”.

Referring to the airline’s long-term fleet plans, Gourgeon said the airline would look at competitors, including Chinese and Russian aircraft manufacturers, as well as Airbus’s (EAD.PA) re-engined model for medium-haul flights.

“We will look at what they propose; it’s always interesting to have more choice,” he said.

The airline last week raised its fiscal full-year earnings goal after swinging to a second-quarter profit as demand for air travel continued to recover and the carrier limited capacity to support prices.