SkyTeam alliance in talks to rope in Indian carriers | india | Hindustan Times
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SkyTeam alliance in talks to rope in Indian carriers

india Updated: Sep 12, 2011 21:39 IST
HT Correspondent

Air France-KLM led SkyTeam has said that it is in talks with a number of Indian airlines, including low-cost carriers, for joining the prestigious airline grouping.

With Star Alliance denying Air India entry into the grouping, the state-owned carrier would look for opportunities elsewhere including SkyTeam even as it continues to talk to Star.

Kingfisher Airlines meanwhile has joined OneWorld, while Jet Airways, the country's largest airline by passengers carried, has been evaluating both Star and SkyTeam. Jet has secured rights to fly to Rome and Amsterdam - considered SkyTeam hubs in Europe.

Aviation experts are of the view that the entry of an Indian carrier into SkyTeam would help European carriers reduce the growing market share of West Asian carriers. "It is extremely difficult to deal with Gulf carriers and it is hurting us," said an Air France official.

"While all European carriers combined operate just over 150 flights a week to India, the top three Gulf carriers in comparison operate 340 flights. They (Gulf carriers) are killing us today," the official said.

Air France-KLM, the largest European carrier flying to 254 destinations in 124 countries, also plans to add capacity and stitch code-share agreements with Indian carriers. "We have excellent load factors of around 95% on our flights to India," said Fahmi Mahjoub, commercial director, Indian sub-continent.

The airline, which has five daily flights to Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, will increase capacity to India by over 15% by using bigger aircraft on these routes.