Air France KLM Group and Brazilian airline Gol announced on Monday the extension of their strategic partnership for another five years.
Launched in February 2014, the codeshare agreement involves nearly 100 cities in 18 countries and was responsible for the creation of a hub in the city of Fortaleza, which now hosts flights from Amsterdam and Paris and has a network of connections to other destinations in the country.
The three companies also use Guarulhos (Sao Paulo) and Galeão (Rio de Janeiro) airports with 469 shared flights, as well as the use of VIP lounges by frequent flyers.
“Gol is very proud of this partnership and all the results obtained in recent years. We grow and strengthen our business together. We are delighted to renew this alliance,” said Eduardo Bernardes, vice president of commercial and marketing for the Brazilian airline.
“South America, in particular Brazil, remains a strategic market for Air France KLM. We are happy to announce that we have renewed our partnership with Gol, which allows us to maintain and expand our presence, and that we will continue to offer shared flights that provide numerous benefits to our passengers,” explained Patrick Alexandre, Air France Commercial and Alliances Vice President -KLM.
What happens to LATAM?
The extension of the deal is surprising given the recent announcement that Delta Air Lines decided to take over 20% of LATAM’s shares. The US airline is also a partner of the Air France-KLM group with whom it shares various strategies.
LATAM was expected to move closer to other Delta partners such as British Virgin Atlantic as it confirmed its departure from Oneworld. But the company has denied that it will scrap its current agreements, even leaving the alliance. Like Gol, LATAM also has an important network at Fortaleza airport, which is one of the closest in Europe.
The Air France KLM group also showed signs of loyalty to Gol, despite the partnership between Delta and LATAM. The scenario, however, is somewhat cloudy, after all, Delta, which had a stake in Gol, has already confirmed that it will sell its shares while Europeans follow partners of the Brazilian company.
The strengthening of its presence in South America has been important for Air France KLM, which is expected to have strong competition from the IAG Group, which announced on Monday the acquisition of Air Europa, whose presence in the region is quite significant.