AF-KL Cargo Deepens Ties with China Southern Cargo

The carriers signed an agreement in Guangzhou to enter into a strategic network partnership. This is only stage one of a close cooperation with more steps to come, announces external communications manager Eric Pouille of Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo.

Eric Pouille
Eric Pouille

The deal signed now is only the beginning of a very close relationship, states Eric that will be deepened in the near future. He admits, however, not knowing the time line or the contents of further steps intended by both carriers’ managements. “The signing ceremony took only place yesterday, so we haven’t been informed about specifics going beyond what has been agreed on between both sides,” he declares.
Hence, for the time being the announced strategic partnership focuses on sharing capacity, giving clients access to the global networks both sides offer to the market (for more pls. read short interview added to this article). 

Reciprocal access to networks
For instance, CZ’s Chinese customers can make use of AF-KL-MP’s large network linking Europe with destinations in Latin America or Africa. Conversely, AF-KL-MP clients get access to Australia or Vietnam via China Southern’s hub Guangzhou where shipments are transferred from AF-KL to CZ for onward flights.
The first stage of the now sealed cooperation also includes the mutual utilization of each party’s ground handling facilities at their respective hubs to enable the fast and seamless transfer of shipments traveling to places beyond Paris or Guangzhou.
Further to this, the agreement covers mutual access to the airlines’ respective networks through interlining SPA (Special Prorate Agreements).
According to manager Pouille, both sides intend focusing on premium products like express or air mail as reaction to the phenomenal increase in e-Commerce trade between Far East and Europe and beyond. “But to my understanding the strategic network partnership includes the entire product range offered to the market,” states Pouille. 

Interview with Eric Pouille
In addition to the carrier’s announcement we caught up with Eric to ask him a few questions to clarify aspects of the agreement not mentioned in the official release. Here is the outcome:

Q: Eric, is AF-KL in addition to their own capacity also selling CZ’s capacity on roundtrips between France and China?

A: The agreement is on the trunks and the beyond flights as well (AMS - CAN & CDG - CAN). So yes, we would be able to offer capacity on CZ flights to CAN.

Q: What about the rate structure. Are both carriers offering identical rates for cargo flying from France to China and vice verse? Or do you maintain different pricing systems?

A: There is no pricing alignment, nor coordination. Cross selling (interline) will be invoiced under a SPA agreement.

Q: This agreement is step one, when does step two follow and what will be the contents of that step?

A: Phase two is mainly about enlarging the scope of the cooperation (more beyonds) once phase one has been proven to be successful both commercially and operationally, which we are very confident about.

Heiner Siegmund

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