Delta and KLM partner with India's Jet Airways

  Jet Airways will launch new flights from Amsterdam to New Dehli and Mumbai   (Photo: Jet Airways)

Jet Airways will launch new flights from Amsterdam to New Dehli and Mumbai (Photo: Jet Airways)

Delta Air Lines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines yesterday announced a new codeshare agreement with India's Jet Airways. The agreement takes effect March 27, 2016 and includes new Jet Airways flights between Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and the Indian subcontinent.

Delta and KLM customers flying from Europe and the United States to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will be able to connect onto Jet Airways’ new daily flights to New Delhi and Mumbai, with onward destinations that include Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Goa, Kolkata and Amritsar in India; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Colombo, Sri Lanka.
— "Delta and KLM to partner with India's Jet Airways" - Delta News Hub

Jet will also offer codeshares to its customers on Delta and KLM flights from Amsterdam to 11 U.S. and Canadian cities:

  • New York-JFK
  • Newark
  • Chicago
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Houston
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Vancouver
  • Calgary
  • Montreal
  • Edmonton

This move makes sense to give Delta, KLM and SkyTeam customers from the United States and Europe better access to India, while Jet Airways customers get more routes to the US. The Indian carrier also will shutter its Brussels minihub and move its operations to Amsterdam. The codeshares will allow Jet to end Brussels to North American flights that are reportedly struggling financially.

Route network of the new partnership between Delta, KLM and Jet Airways (click to enlarge)

Earlier this fall, when Delta ended its Atlanta-Dubai service, some suggested that the lack of a network or partner in the Indian subcontinent was a significant factor in the cancellation. Delta's Senior Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nat Pieper, stated the impact of the Gulf carriers on U.S. carriers' ability to serve India was instrumental in this new partnership.

The primary reason is because government-subsidized Gulf carriers now dominate international travel to India, meaning U.S. airlines can no longer economically serve the Indian market directly from North America. India is a major business and trading partner with the United States and because the Gulf carriers have dumped subsidized capacity in the market, we are forced to find codeshare partners to be able to transport our customers to the region.
— Delta’s senior vice president Nat Pieper

Regardless of the the broader strategic implications, this announcement will be good news for SkyTeam customers who want a more seamless flight experience when traveling to India. Whether checking bags through to their Indian destination or earning Delta, Flying Blue or Jet Privilege frequent flyer miles on codeshare flights operated by the partners this announcement is good news to Delta, KLM and Jet customers.