Kenya Airways, Air Madagascar, and Air Austral have signed a Privileged Partnership Agreement which aims to strengthen the strategically positioned hubs of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta, Antananarivo, and St. Denis de la Réunion by boosting their footprints in Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.

Through the privileged partnership, which was first announced as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July, the three airlines have firmly committed to offering their customers a greater variety of destinations and service with more efficient connections via their respective hubs. The carriers' regional subsidiaries - Jambojet, Tsaradia, and EWA Air - are also party to the agreement.

Under the PPA, the three carriers will seek improved synergies through improved flight scheduling, as well as capacity exchange and technical training.

It also provides for the start of codesharing operations of which two agreements have been signed. In the first, Air Madagascar will codeshare on Kenya Airways' Nairobi-Antananarivo route effective January 21, 2019. In the second, Kenya Airways will codeshare on Air Austral's Nairobi-La Réunion route via Antananarivo at a date to be defined later.

"By combining our strengths, we will open up to our Indian Ocean and Continental African clienteles, and in addition to the hubs of Réunion and Antananarivo, Nairobi will become the gateway to the African continent, allowing trade and between the three countries and improving the connectivity of our respective territories," Marie-Joseph Malé, Chief Executive Officer of Air Austral, said in a statement.

Aside from this partnership, Kenya Airways is also party to the first African Civil Aviation Alliance, a tie-up between the Kenyan carrier, RwandAir, Air Mauritius, and South African Airways which is due to be finalized shortly.

This partnership will seek to leverage the four airlines' combined size to effect greater economies of scale thus driving down costs and boosting competitiveness. As with the aforementioned partnership between Kenya Airways, Air Madagascar, and Air Austral, the alliance will also feature codesharing and improved inter-hub connectivity.