Air France and KLM expressed their satisfaction following the European Commission’s clearance of their projected merger. This decision, which endorses the choice of alliance made by the two airlines, clearly reflects the complementary nature of their networks.
Air France Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jean-Cyril Spinetta and KLM President and Chief Executive Officer, Leo van Wijk, both declared: “The European Commission’s decision defines a clear legal framework for us to set up Europe’s leading air transport group. By giving its clearance, the Commission has shown its commitment to the consolidation of our industry, whose current, highly fragmented organization is no longer adapted to the challenges of today’s world.”
The remedies package, which has been agreed with the Commission, mainly consists in improved access to take-off and landing slots for new entrants, and is designed in such a way that these will not affect Air France’s nor KLM’s hub system.
Both companies will make the required slots available at their main hubs, the Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airports, only when a new entrant is unable to obtain these slots via regular procedures. Neither party has been required to give up any routes or frequencies. Furthermore, both airlines have agreed to the traditional remedies sought by the Commission, which are not slot-related, such as frequent flyer programme access, interline agreements, etc.
The new Air France - KLM Group will leverage the brands, hubs and networks of both airlines. It will generate substantial synergies thanks to the optimization of the two networks, a more rational deployment of passenger and cargo operations, an extended offering in MRO activities, as well as cost savings in procurement, sales distribution and IT systems. Customers will also benefit from synergies through an extended network, attractive fares and enhanced services at all the Group’s destinations.