KLM Partners With Gulf Air To Offer Codeshare Flights

KLM announced a new codeshare partnership with Bahrain’s Gulf Air today. Valid as of yesterday, the new agreement will see the two airlines place their own codes on a number of each other’s flights.

A KLM Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
The KLM-Gulf Air codeshare agreement will be beneficial for both airlines. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Flickr

In a press statement sent to Simple Flying today, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines confirmed it has signed a codeshare agreement with Gulf Air. The two airlines had already signed a memorandum of understanding over the agreement at an earlier date.

Vice President Alliances KLM, Bruce Dönszelmann, expressed his excitement over the new partnership, saying:

“We are pleased to start this new cooperation with Gulf Air, and to strengthen our Network in the Middle East, which is a strong market for both business and leisure customers. In Gulf Air we have found a very reliable partner, with whom we can offer passengers more transfer options and destinations in the Indian subcontinent.”

The agreement between the two airlines will complement the already strong relationship between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Which flights will be included in the codeshare partnership?

The codeshare agreement between KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Gulf Air will see each airline gain access to key routes within each other’s networks. Gulf Air will gain access to KLM flights from Bahrain to Amsterdam, providing the airline with another key European city destination.

KLM Cityhopper, PH-EXV, Embraer ERJ-190STD with a Gulf Air Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the background
The codeshare agreement will provide both airlines with access to part of each other’s network. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

It will also gain access to KLM’s flights from Amsterdam to Frankfurt, another important business route which should prove popular with Gulf Air’s customers. In return, KLM will gain access to key routes from Bahrain to Pakistan. Specifically, KLM will add its ‘KL’ code to flights from Bahrain to Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Sialkot.

Gulf Air CEO, Krešimir Kučko, has described the benefits KLM can expect to gain from access to Gulf Air’s flights to Pakistan.

“With our strong network in the Indian sub-continent, KLM can now offer more destinations to their passengers through our flights with one stop in our fast and efficient hub, Bahrain International Airport,” he said.

Air France-KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is actually part of the Air France-KLM group. Air France-KLM is the fourth-largest airline group in Europe, carrying more than 100 million passengers in 2018.

Air France and KLM were two large airlines in their own right before they merged in 2004, but they still operate as separate entities with their own fleets and branding.

Alongside a number of other shareholders, including Delta Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, the French and Dutch governments each separately own equal portions of the company’s shares.

EGLL - Boeing 787 Dreamliner - Gulf Air - A9C-FC
Gulf Air is Bahrain’s flag carrier. Photo: Steve Lynes via Flickr

But it hasn’t always been this way. The Dutch government actually acquired their portion of Air France-KLM shares earlier this year, paying out £581m for a 12.7% stake in the company.

Shortly afterward it increased its stake to 14%, matching that of the French government.

This move didn’t go down well with France and it prompted accusations that the Dutch government was acting like an “unfriendly” corporate raider.

Considering KLM is the Dutch flag carrier, it seems completely reasonable that the Dutch government would want to be able to have an equal say in the future of the airline.

However, Air France-KLM’s shares suffered an 11% hit shortly after the announcement.