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Air France-KLM bets big on premium fliers

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Published : 2014-03-12 20:43
Updated : 2014-03-12 20:43

Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s largest airline, said Tuesday that it would expand new and enhanced premium services for business-class travelers in Korea as part of its recent efforts for a luxury makeover.

The key to the company’s revamped business class is fully reclining seats that come with down pillows and comforters. These will be applied to Korea starting this month for KLM, and in June for Air France, according to the company. No fare hikes are being considered as of now.

“In three to five years, 60 percent of business-class seats in the airline industry will have full-flat beds,” said Pieter Bootsma, executive vice president of commercial marketing division of the company. “Business-class seats should not be an office. Passengers need to feel at home.”
 
The makeover for quality in-flight sleeping also comes at the right time, the company said, as KLM has launched late night flights that depart from Incheon at 12:55 a.m. and arrive in Amsterdam at 4:55 a.m. ― a first for a European airline.

The company added that the convenience of both business passengers and holiday travelers is further boosted by the wide network of connecting flights operated by Air France, KLM and their partner air carriers such as Korean Air.
Patrick Alexandre

“That’s the beauty of our partnership,” said Patrick Alexandre, executive vice president in charge of the company’s international business. “We offer different values and complement each other.”

Regarding Korean Air’s planned launch of A380 jumbo jets into the Incheon-Paris route, he expressed willingness to support the move rather than pressure toward having to face fiercer competition.

“A significant number of the new seats will be sold by Air France. So we will see our passenger capacity expand. Our partnership with Korean Air also will allow us to gain counter power against emerging Middle East airlines,” he said.

Air France-KLM and Korean Air renewed their partnership deal a few weeks ago, according to the French executive.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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