Nat Pieper, Delta's senior vice president for alliances, is a veteran in building commercial alliances with airlines. In 1997, he led Northwest's joint venture with KLM, the first such partnership between airlines. Currently, Pieper is working on expanding ties with Jet Airways.
The two airlines have a code share pact
and there are discussions on equity investment too. Pieper shared Delta's growth strategy with Aneesh Phadnis
How significant is India market for Delta?
With around 11,000 passengers flying between North America and the Indian subcontinent each day, this market is an important global one for Delta. Our partnership with Jet Airways, which started in March 2016, gives Delta customers access to over 30 destinations throughout India. Through the expansion of the codeshare agreement, in conjunction with our partners Air France, KLM
and Virgin Atlantic, we offer our customers convenient access between North America and India across three European hubs in Amsterdam, London and Paris. This multi-hub strategy allows us to build strong links with the Indian market.
Currently, around 18-20 per cent of traffic between India-US is carried on non-stop flights. Do Delta or Jet Airways have a plan to offer non-stop flights between India-US soon?
I cannot speak on behalf of Jet Airways
but from the Delta perspective our co-operation with Jet Airways
through Amsterdam, Paris and London has been a great success and has opened up significant new service options for our customers between North America and India. Our customers also now have full frequent flyer mileage reciprocity and lounge access. At this stage, we have no plans to launch Delta nonstop service between North America and India, but we do constantly review our network.
Delta's relations with Jet Airways are getting strong. Vinay Dube's appointment as Jet CEO is an indication of the same. What further synergies and co-operation can be seen between Jet Airways and Delta?
Delta and Jet Airways
will continue to explore ways to deepen our codeshare relationship. Jet Airways
has recently announced new service directly connecting Chennai with Paris and Bengaluru with Amsterdam, on which Delta will codeshare, delivering efficient one-stop connections for Delta customers to and from North America.
Delta is a part of two trans Atlantic JVs (with Virgin and with Air France-KLM). By when is the JV with Jet Airways is expected to be finalised
Delta has a long standing trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France, KLM
and Alitalia, plus a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic
between the US and the UK. Delta’s codeshare relationship with Jet Airways does not form part of any of these joint ventures. Delta has a track record of filling specific network gaps through commercial partnerships with airlines around the world, and the cooperation with Jet enables us to offer our customers convenient access to the Indian market.
What is Delta management's view on investment in India?
Travel demand for India is growing, Delta is certainly keen to access this important market via our codeshare partnership with Jet Airways
and our other joint venture partners.
Is Delta actively exploring an equity investment in Jet Airways?
We cannot comment on any future investments.