Is Skyteam Courting Jet Airways?

Jet Airways is one of theDelta - Skyteam.jpg largest airlines in India with hubs at Mumbai (BOM), Delhi (DEL), Chennai (MAA) and Brussels (BRU) airports. Jet Airways operates an extensive domestic and regional network within the Indian subcontinent as well as services to Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America. They also have an extensive partner network. You might recollect that unroadwarrior blogged a few days ago about Jet Airways forming a new partnership with US Airways. They already have strong ties with Star Alliance airline carriers like United and Brussels Airlines.

However, they cannot join Star Alliance since Air India, the national carrier of India is in the ‘process’ of joining Star Alliance. Another Indian carrier, Kingfisher has been married to Oneworld. The Indian aviation ministry has made it clear that they would not allow two carriers to join the same alliance as that would kill competition. This leaves Jet Airways only two choices-expand on its own and adopt a model like Emirates or join Skyteam.

Skyteam too has been looking for a partner in the Indian subcontinent for some time. There have been rumors about KLM asking Jet Airways to shift its hub from Brussels which is dominated by Star Alliance carriers to Amsterdam (AMS), the KLM and Skyteam stronghold. The rumor strengthened when Jet started a service to Milan (MXP) last year. Milan is a Skyteam secondary hub.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that Jet Airways has been asked to join a Delta-KLM-Air France-Alitalia joint transatlantic venture. The WSJ reports: “The venture between the four airlines will likely include operational partnerships such as code-sharing on airline tickets, cooperation on client reward programs as well as other services such as engineering on some overseas route”

This could pave the way for their joining Skyteam and the end of their partnership with Star Alliance carriers. I am more of a Star loyalist and this would mean I would be forced to fly Air India! I, for one, would be extremely unhappy if Jet joins Skyteam. What about you?

– The Nomad

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