Kenya Airways (KQ, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta) is evaluating its future in Skyteam and might choose to leave the alliance and more actively engage in joint-ventures, CEO Sebastian Mikosz told Air Transport World.

"We don't have to be in Skyteam to have JVs and our shareholder structure would not change when we leave. The question for us is to stay or leave the alliance," Mikosz said.

He added that joint ventures made more sense to the airline as they entail a much closer business partnership and preclude competition between the partner airlines. In turn, some airlines who are members of the same alliance are also competitors.

Mikosz also pointed out that alliances do not even impose an obligatory code-share on its members. As such, while passengers enjoy benefits such as shared frequent flyer benefits, from the business point of view joint ventures are preferable.

The Kenyan carrier will not seek to join another alliance if it chooses to leave Skyteam.

Currently, Kenya Airways has an existing joint venture with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL, Amsterdam Schiphol) and Air France (AF, Paris CDG), both also Skyteam members. In addition, the Dutch flag carrier holds a 7.8% stake in Kenya Airways.

The Kenyan flag carrier is currently actively boosting its network of partnerships in Africa. At the end of 2018, it inked a Privileged Partnership Agreement with Air Austral (UU, St. Denis de la Réunion) and Air Madagascar (MD, Antananarivo), neither of which is a member of any of the global alliances. It also held talks with South African Airways (SA, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo), a Star Alliance member, over a closer commercial partnership.