Wednesday, 3 November 2010

KLM Extends Entebbe services to Kigale. What it means for the KLM/Kenya Airways partnership

KLM's announcement that it will extend its Amsterdam-Entebbe A330-200 service to Kigali this winter is interesting. The Dutch airline originally took its 26% share in Kenya Airways as a means of strengthening its position on the continent by being able to feed its business from Amsterdam to points in East, Central and Southern Africa through KQ's Nairobi hub.This would counter particularly BA's strong presence achieved both via direct flights from London and, later, its new Nairobi based franchise operator RegionAir.In the event the BA franchise was short lived and KLM's potential particularly for extending its Amsterdam-Nairobi code share arrangements throughout Kenya Airways' regional operation has never been as vigorously persued as expected.
While the KLM Kigali operation bypasses Nairobi and will inevitably draw some long haul business to Europe and beyond away from Nairobi ,it is unlikely to seriously undermine the general level of KL/KQ cooperation and the feed of other business over Nairobi. Both carriers probably see it as far less of a problem than would be presented by the arrival of a Gulf operator.