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The Air France-KLM Group and CMA CGM on Wednesday signed a partnership deal that the two companies say will combine their complementary cargo networks.

Under the 10-year agreement Air France-KLM will join and exclusively operate the full-freighter aircraft capacity of the airlines. This will consist initially of a fleet of 10 full-freighter aircraft and an additional 12 aircraft on order, including:

  • four full-freighter aircraft at CMA CGM Air Cargo (with outstanding orders for an additional eight aircraft, two of which may be operated by Air France-KLM in the future) and
  • six full-freighter aircraft at Air France-KLM Group based at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (with outstanding orders for an additional four aircraft).

The new partnership also covers Air France-KLM’s belly aircraft capacity, including more than 160 long-haul aircraft.

A statement from the companies said the new partnership is expected to generate “revenue synergies”, including the joint design of the full freighter networks and enhanced products and services mix opportunities.

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As part of the long-term exclusive partnership, CMA CGM will become a reference shareholder in Air France-KLM.

CMA CGM said it has intention to take up to 9% of Air France-KLM’s ex-post share capital for a period consistent with the implementation of the strategic commercial partnership.

Air France-KLM’s main shareholders are to support a resolution for the appointment of one board member representing CMA CGM at the next shareholders’ meeting next week.

Such appointment, if approved by the shareholders’ meeting, would be subject to the completion of CMA CGM’s investment.

CMA CGM Group chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saadé said the partnership is fully in line with the company’s strategy and its ambitions in the integrated logistics space.

“I am very pleased with this strategic partnership with Air France-KLM,” he said.

“It allows us to significantly accelerate the development of our air division, CMA CGM Air Cargo, which was created just over a year ago, and to position our two companies among the world’s leading players in air freight.”

Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith said: “This strategic partnership leverages the complementary skills, expertise and activities of Air France-KLM and CMA CGM. It is a landmark step which will significantly strengthen and expand the group’s position in the air cargo industry. I am also extremely pleased that this commercial partnership with CMA CGM has resulted in their decision to invest directly in the Air France-KLM Group, demonstrating a strong testimony of their belief in the future success of our Group.”

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