French logistics giant CMA CGM plans to acquire a stake of up to 9% in Air France-KLM as part of a long-term strategic partnership.

In a joint statement, the two firms said the initial agreement will be for ten years and will see both parties combine their complementary cargo networks, full freighter capacity and dedicated facilities in order to build more competitive services.

In terms of aerial operations, the duo will operate a combined fleet of ten dedicated freighter aircraft (with an additional combined 12 on order) distributed as follows:

  • four with CMA CGM Air Cargo (CMA, Paris CDG) (with outstanding orders for an additional eight aircraft, two of which may be operated by Air France-KLM in the future);
  • six with Air France-KLM based at Paris CDG and Amsterdam Schiphol (with outstanding orders for an additional four).

The partnership also covers Air France-KLM’s bellyhold capacity, including over 160 long-haul aircraft, and will see both parties leveraging their respective global sales teams.

In terms of the equity buy-in, CMA CGM said it had the firm 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, i.e., ten years.

The overall tie-up is still subject to both shareholder and regulatory approval.

In terms of the current fleet, Air France (AF, Paris CDG) operates two B777-Fs, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' Martinair (MP, Amsterdam Schiphol) subsidiary operates one B747-400(BCF) and three B747-400ERFs. Last month, the group tentatively committed to four A350 freighters with options for four more.

For its part, CMA CGM Air Cargo is in the process of securing its own AOC having two B777-Fs due from Boeing alongside four A350 freighters from Airbus. While its certification is still ongoing, it is currently using Air Belgium (KF, Brussels Charleroi) as a production platform, although that contract, as previously reported, is due to wrap up at the end of this month.