BM 'near to decision' on Air France alliance

BM 'near to decision' on Air France alliance

AIR FRANCE has confirmed it is holding talks with British Midland to persuade the airline to join the new global alliance it has created with Delta Air Lines.

Negotiations are believed to cover joint cross-Channel services and British Midland putting passengers on to Air France's long-haul services.

Air France commercial director UK and Ireland Thierry de Bailleul said: "There have been talks with British Midland. We expect a decision very soon."

British Midland is not a member of any global alliance, but has strong ties with Star Alliance's Lufthansa, United Airlines, Air Canada, SAS and Air New Zealand through codeshare agreements.

British Midland director of strategy and external affairs Alex Grant confirmed talks were taking place with Air France but said the carrier is also in the final stages of discussions with Star Alliance and the Wings grouping. A decision is expected in August.

An invitation for Swissair to join Air France and Delta in a global alliance is still open, said de Bailleul, despite the carrier indicating last month it was not interested (Travel Weekly June 28).

Other potential partners include Austrian Airlines, Air India and Japan Airlines, although the latter is linked to the Oneworld alliance.

Meanwhile, de Bailleul said Air France has started a project to revamp cabins across its fleet. De Bailleul pledged that Air France would keep first class, despite Delta combining first and business into its BusinessElite product last year.

n Air France regional services, page 29

n State-owned carrier Aer Lingus has been given permission by the Irish Government to form an alliance with British Airways.

AIR FRANCE has confirmed it is holding talks with British Midland to persuade the airline to join the new global alliance it has created with Delta Air Lines.

Negotiations are believed to cover joint cross-Channel services and British Midland putting passengers on to Air France's long-haul services.

Air France commercial director UK and Ireland Thierry de Bailleul said: "There have been talks with British Midland. We expect a decision very soon."

British Midland is not a member of any global alliance, but has strong ties with Star Alliance's Lufthansa, United Airlines, Air Canada, SAS and Air New Zealand through codeshare agreements.

British Midland director of strategy and external affairs Alex Grant confirmed talks were taking place with Air France but said the carrier is also in the final stages of discussions with Star Alliance and the Wings grouping. A decision is expected in August.

An invitation for Swissair to join Air France and Delta in a global alliance is still open, said de Bailleul, despite the carrier indicating last month it was not interested (Travel Weekly June 28).

Other potential partners include Austrian Airlines, Air India and Japan Airlines, although the latter is linked to the Oneworld alliance.

Meanwhile, de Bailleul said Air France has started a project to revamp cabins across its fleet. De Bailleul pledged that Air France would keep first class, despite Delta combining first and business into its BusinessElite product last year.

n Air France regional services, page 29

n State-owned carrier Aer Lingus has been given permission by the Irish Government to form an alliance with British Airways.

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