Partnerships Set To Define The Future Of The Airline Business

by Business Watch Team
Air France

Air travel today has evolved from a simple need to move from one point to another to an experience that prioritizes convenience, comfort, and connectivity. We are now in an era where competitiveness in global mobility is determined by innovative responses to expanding customer needs, requiring players in the airline industry to continuously innovate.

In this regard, alliances and related partnerships come into focus as important instruments for expanding flight networks amidst other benefits that transform the experience of flyers. Customers are no longer limited to the routes of a single carrier as alliances merge diverse fleets onto a common platform, instantly unlocking thousands of destinations. The SkyTeam alliance, for example, has for the last 24 years linked 20 carriers, including Air France and KLM, on a common network that streamlines the connection of flights to nearly 1,000 destinations in more than 160 countries through shared terminals, coordinated schedules, and dedicated transfer desks, sparing travelers the stress of navigating unfamiliar airports and enhancing the overall travel experience.

Other benefits of such airline alliances include the provision of gateways to desirable loyalty programs. Frequent flyer plans, for example, allow alliance members to earn and redeem points across their network of airlines. Such an interconnected ecosystem incentivizes loyalty while amplifying the value of accrued rewards to cover class upgrades, free flights, and access to exclusive benefits that may not be available on a single airline.

Meanwhile, for airlines, alliances enable them to smoothly manage disruptions, including unforeseen flight issues, by quickly adjusting, fixing, or rebooking itineraries with minimal inconvenience. By joining forces, alliances vastly increase the number of carrier options available to their members when plans change due to unforeseen disruptions. This efficiency emerges as the airlines within alliances coordinate their schedules and fares across multiple routes, in addition to facilitating the collection and redemption of miles across airlines, as well as other perks like lounge access and ground handling services.

We expect to see many partnerships across the airline industry as players realign their strategies for future-proofing their operations and for all-around business efficiency in an industry where adaptability and agility are paramount for success.

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Mr. Marius van der Ham is Air France – KLM Regional General Manager for East and Southern Africa.

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