KQ and KLM celebrate 15-year partnership

Joint venture flies some one million passengers to 43 destinations annually, generating half a billion US dollars

KQ-AND-KLMKenya Airways and KLM celebrated the 15th anniversary of their joint venture in Europe with a gala event at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam at the end of last year.

The partnership generates US$500 million annually, transporting almost one million passengers. In 2014 alone, the two airlines added four new destinations to the network, for which the routes’ costs and revenues are shared. This is in addition to an existing codeshare agreement. Together they fly to 43 destinations, predominantly via Kenya Airways’ hub in Nairobi, with two daily direct services between Amsterdam and Nairobi.

Each airline has also recently appointed a new Chief Executive: Peter Elbers at KLM and Mbuvi Ngunze at Kenya Airways.

Commenting on the partnership, Elbers said: “There is an African proverb that applies here perfectly: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.”

The joint venture enables the airlines to offer 800 seats per day between Amsterdam and Nairobi.

“Now it is important to align the flights and services well together and strengthen our market presence,” he added.

Kenya Airways’ Nairobi hub has undergone some significant redevelopment over the past year.  “With a new terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) there is an improved efficiency in the transfer procedure in Nairobi,” said Ngunze. “After the fire at the airport in August 2013 the construction plans for a new terminal were accelerated and we now fly from the newly opened Terminal 1A, where 2.5 million passengers can be handled each year. And we are working hard to make the transition as easy and comfortable as possible.”

The second phase of the expansion of JKIA includes a new terminal that will accommodate Kenya Airways and its SkyTeam partners, which include KLM.

“That terminal should be ready in 2018 and significantly increase the capacity for passengers. Thus we want JKIA to be made an even stronger transportation hub for all of Africa,” Ngunze added.