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KLM Retaining Identity?  
User currently offlineDALALWAYS From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 97 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8400 times:

Following the merger with Air France in 2005, KLM was guaranteed their identity until 2008. Has there been any recent talk of Air France phasing out the KLM identity? What would be the pros and cons of doing this?

38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinepeanuts From Netherlands, joined Dec 2009, 1438 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8382 times:

Well, one of the "cons" for instance would be that their beautiful blue airplanes would look dirtier in AF white...  

[Edited 2010-11-23 09:58:06]


Question Conventional Wisdom. While not all commonly held beliefs are wrong…all should be questioned.
User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8549 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8364 times:
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Quoting DALALWAYS (Thread starter):
Following the merger with Air France in 2005, KLM was guaranteed their identity until 2008. Has there been any recent talk of Air France phasing out the KLM identity? What would be the pros and cons of doing this?

I think it is very very unlikely that the identities will be merged , if they did then they would need to come up with a completely new brand/name that did not relate to either country , I cannot imagine the Dutch tolerating KLM changing its name to Air France . For all the talk of a single market and one Europe the point remains that the individual countries in the EU retain their own sense of national identity ( for the most part )



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineDALALWAYS From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8331 times:

Quoting peanuts (Reply 1):
Well, one of the "cons" for instance would be that their beautiful blue airplanes would look dirtier in AF white...

I wish they would send a freshly washed plane to ATL. I love the KLM blue, but it seems all we get is the dirty planes, looking much like the battleship gray of a dirty United plane...LOL


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4268 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 8224 times:

KLM is a very strong brand, worldwide very commonly known by people. The AF-KL group won't throw it away anytime soon, I think.


"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlinemigair54 From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 1694 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 8084 times:

Rebranding KLM can cause some problems with bilaterals with some countries.....

Also KLM is a very well known brand and I don´t know if AF-KLM would like to start a new brand and invest millions of USD in publicity....


User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7987 times:

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 4):
KLM is a very strong brand, worldwide very commonly known by people. The AF-KL group won't throw it away anytime soon, I think.



Yes, I tend to agree. I don't think there will be any changes in the immediate future.

Longer term things could change as the AF-KLM names become synonymous with each other after years of combined marketing. I would not be surprised to see them go to one standard livery while using the AirFrance-KLM brand name.

If the intent is to eventually merge the two names into one brand, then I personally believe the best strategy is to market the two carriers as they are doing today before slowly merging the identities. It is not unusual for companies to market two brands and begin a slow transition over many years to one brand name. A slow transition takes away some of the social upheaval created by the elimination of a flag carrier.


User currently offlineDALALWAYS From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 97 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7987 times:

All of those explanations make a lot of sense, however I did not know if fiscally it hindered AF-KL to maintain 2 brand identities, including on-board products. By no means do I want KL to fly off into the good night, but I ask this because I am in my aviation marketing class, and I am looking at it with an unbiased perspective. This way I can have the strongest argument possible. So I apologize in advance if I challenge a position, it is not that I don't agree, I just really want a 4.0 in my class!

User currently offlinepqdtw From Netherlands, joined Aug 2008, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6829 times:

Personally, I think it's one of the most bizarre mergers from an internal operations perspective. I understand maintaining separate names for nationalism purposes... I get that. What I don't get is that this many years after the merger, they are still operating different computer platforms, different websites (that do not offer the same fares on the same routes!!), different on board products, different policies ... It's crazy.

For instance, why do I get a full choice of beverages and a bag of peanuts on a AF flight from AMS to CDG, but then on a KL flight, that operates an hour later, I get a limited selection of beverages with a sandwich? One small example of the weirdness. As a passenger, how am I supposed to know what to expect when I step on a plane?

Why is it that when I make my connecting flight at CDG and the inbound KL flight from AMS makes me misconnect, the AF agent cannot find my reservation in her computer, because it was booked through the KL system.

On and on... I just don't get the KL-AF merger. Doesn't seem that they are making good use of single network/brand capabilities. I don't see how it's not more cost effective to align service and technology...


User currently offlineDLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3590 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6610 times:

It is not a marketing problem as much as it is a legal problem of traffic rights.

Until the EU negotiates new aviation bi-laterals with every country served by KLM and AF that is operating under previously negotiated national bi-laterals, there will be no merger of brands.


User currently offlineVC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 2885 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6522 times:
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One company can own and run 2 brands. Lufthansa and Swiss come to mind! Pepsi owns MtDew, doubt you'll ever see yellowish/ green PEPSIDEW.
Some airlines have such iconic status and liveries that they just get small updates so they don't become too dated. There you can see what Singapore, Thai, Swiss and Qantas. There aren't many BIG redo's in line like when Cathy Pacific when they did a 100% change. VARIG in '99. Or TAP. those airlines were in dire need to say to the world "WE CHANGED AND FOR THE BETTER"
Personally, I think TAM needs a big change
I bet KLM may go for a freshen up and not merge their look with AF.



The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6258 times:

Quoting VC10er (Reply 10):
Pepsi owns MtDew, doubt you'll ever see yellowish/ green PEPSIDEW.

It is hard NOT to have to separate brands in the example you used above. Pepsi and MtDew are two completely different types of soft drinks. If MtDew was a derivative of Pepsi (ie. Caffeine free, diet, etc.) then I can see using a combined or similar name. However, Pepsi and MtDew are very different from each other and thus require two separate names to distinguish themselves.

Airlines that provide commercial air service are a little different than consumer products. Aside from the name that helps to associate the carrier with a particular country (and perhaps some onboard service differences which are easy to make consistent in the case of a merger), the main product of providing transportation from point A to point B is very similar.

[Edited 2010-11-24 08:36:09]

User currently offlinegroundopsLEY From Netherlands, joined Oct 2008, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5986 times:

According to an interview in Dutch magazine Elsevier a couple of weeks ago, the CEO of KLM stated that the KLM brand will stay as long as it is a separate airline under the combined overhed.
So Air France will be the French airline and KLM the Dutch.

Blue will be in the skies for a long time.

Gtz,
Jan



groundopsLEY
User currently offlineSeptember11 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3623 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5893 times:

Quoting groundopsLEY (Reply 12):
Blue will be in the skies for a long time.

Good

I have a lot of respect for KLM

Very well structured airline



Airliners.net of the Future
User currently offlineGA330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5514 times:

Quoting DALALWAYS (Reply 7):
All of those explanations make a lot of sense, however I did not know if fiscally it hindered AF-KL to maintain 2 brand identities, including on-board products. By no means do I want KL to fly off into the good night, but I ask this because I am in my aviation marketing class, and I am looking at it with an unbiased perspective. This way I can have the strongest argument possible. So I apologize in advance if I challenge a position, it is not that I don't agree, I just really want a 4.0 in my class!

There are much more consideration, even for the marketing people, than fiscal conservation in merging two brand names such as Air France and KLM. Here are some of my ideas for your argument.

Air France and KLM, even though they are under one management are flown as two distinct brands. Combining in-flight products will make this distinction go away. In such a case it is no longer two airlines, it is one airline with 2 different liveries. Now that doesnt make sense, does it?

The 2 different countries have different cultural background. One thing to be considered in inflight services is cultural influence and cultural expression of the airline. For example food, magazines, uniforms, service language etc. Again, taking away these aspects and replacing them with a foreign component will take the cultural significance of the airline away. Given that KLM is a hundred-year old brand (not literally but almost) and that the name of KLM itself has a very deep root to the Netherlands culture (K = Koninklijke, a royal title given by the monarchs of Netherlands), It will be very insensitive to the Netherlands as a nation to change the in-flight cultural aspects of the airline to a French culture. In this case any financial advantage in combining inflight products of the two airlines do not outweigh the serious consequences of losing a cultural identity.

A very good example of a cultural identity of KLM will be the Delft Blue houses. Look it up on Wikipedia. Imagine them going away just for the sake of having a unified in-flight service. The houses represents a culture and a unique experience for both Netherlands and foreign passengers on KLM and no other airlines. They are a symbol of national identity and cultural ties to the country that KLM represents.

Quoting EricR (Reply 11):
It is hard NOT to have to separate brands in the example you used above. Pepsi and MtDew are two completely different types of soft drinks. If MtDew was a derivative of Pepsi (ie. Caffeine free, diet, etc.) then I can see using a combined or similar name. However, Pepsi and MtDew are very different from each other and thus require two separate names to distinguish themselves.

Airlines that provide commercial air service are a little different than consumer products. Aside from the name that helps to associate the carrier with a particular country (and perhaps some onboard service differences which are easy to make consistent in the case of a merger), the main product of providing transportation from point A to point B is very similar.


Granted that is mostly the case for United States airlines. For one the US do not have something that is called a flag carrier. Please keep in mind that the situation in Europe (and Asia) is very different. Financial considerations are not always number 1, but pride and culture of a people and of a nation comes into play heavily.

IMO, the airlines in Europe and Asia are not only there to provide transportation from A to B. Airlines like KLM are like the Air Force One. They are a symbol of a nation, an ambassador to other countries and a flag carrier. They symbolize the power of a nation, and in many cases symbolizes the spirit of the country.

Look what happened to the Swiss, the country was devastated when Swissair ceased operations, not because they lost a mean of transportation from A to B, which Crossair quickly took over responsibility of, but they lost a symbol of a nation, a pride of their own, a national identity that identifies itself with the country, the culture, and the people, and brings that set of identity around the world. Those kinds of feelings can only be felt by countries which have a unique cultural identity, Netherlands beign one of them.

[Edited 2010-11-24 09:50:24]


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User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25125 posts, RR: 22
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4999 times:

Quoting VC10er (Reply 10):
One company can own and run 2 brands. Lufthansa and Swiss come to mind!

LH and LX are not one company, unlike KL and AF. LH and LX have their own managements and boards of directors. LX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LH which is not the case for KL and AF which is a single merged company operating two brands.


User currently offlinejpiddink From Netherlands, joined Feb 2009, 105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4833 times:

Quoting GA330 (Reply 14):

Your post makes a lot of sense, so I will restrain myself to just two additions:
- did anyone notice that in flight sandwiches on KL are now wrapped in a Delft blue wrap designed by Blond Amsterdam? Talk about national pride, that brand is trending right now and KL knew it.
- the OP asked about the guarantees that both parties agreed on during the merger. Those guarantees have recently been extended indefinitely in an agreement between AF/KL and the Dutch minister of Transport. This is a highly symbolic agreement since there are no penalties, but still it shows the intention.

On the other hand, both airlines DO keep an eye on their respective service levels. AFAIK, KL re-introduced complimentary wine after the merger, which can definitely be seen as a move towards the expectations that AF FF would have.


User currently offlineVC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 2885 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4667 times:
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Quoting EricR (Reply 11):

You are indeed 100% right with consumer brands being different than service brands. I tried to think of an easy example of a "brand" out of the airline sector to highlight the NEED to maintain separate brands although the company who owns them are the same. I'm sure I could have come up with a better illustration of my point!
Maybe KLM COLA?-- Oh wait ... Virgin did that without much success!  



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User currently onlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1859 posts, RR: 42
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4614 times:
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Quoting jpiddink (Reply 16):
- did anyone notice that in flight sandwiches on KL are now wrapped in a Delft blue wrap designed by Blond Amsterdam? Talk about national pride, that brand is trending right now and KL knew it.

I did indeed notice this. I read an interview with Peter Hartman, of KLM, some time back. He stated that KLM was slowly introducing features to show off it's Dutch origin. One of which was the orange now found in the scarfs of the blue lady-uniforms of the cabin and ground crew. I wonder what the reason for this is though.

One thing is sure, the KLM hasn't been "Royal" anymore since AF took over. I'm not a KLM fan but I would hate to see them disappear into the belly of the AF beast.

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineSR4ever From Luxembourg, joined Mar 2010, 800 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4077 times:

KLM will and shall remain a brand of its own, but more convergence towards an upgraded, more consistent AF-KLM product would be more than welcome, such as a re-instatement of F class at KL, of sandwiches on AF shorthaul flights.

Both airlines could build on the best on each other, too: KL could offer champagne in all classes on longhaul flights, while AF could certainly offer goodies commensurate with KL Delft houses.

Unified seating (yet with different cabin ambiences) would also be advisable.

Even better if AZ joins the party.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19516 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4047 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 2):
if they did then they would need to come up with a completely new brand/name that did not relate to either country

I have just the idea:
"Continental Airlines"  

I do hope that with these mergers, we will one day see multihub carriers like we do in the US with names like "EUROPEAN" or...um... well, let's not worry about what the competitor will be named now.  


User currently offlinepeanuts From Netherlands, joined Dec 2009, 1438 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 21 hours ago) and read 3727 times:

Quoting GA330 (Reply 14):
Please keep in mind that the situation in Europe (and Asia) is very different. Financial considerations are not always number 1, but pride and culture of a people and of a nation comes into play heavily.

They are very different, for now...

Over time, Europe will realize some of its inefficiencies need to be challenged. Stuff like "pride" and "tradition" will have to make room for profits. It may take a while but you watch. Especially considering the financial challenges domino effect we are seeing now at the government level in certain countries.
If you want just one example from the past: Fokker. In spite of pride, culture and tradition, it was let go.

Each country in Europe has its own identity, over time however, some of it will become more "mainstream" European. At some point, AF-KLM will make the efficiency changes it needs to make. They will look at DL and how it integrated NW almost seamlessly. AF is already getting a taste of that now since DL recently took over AF North American Reservations. Once they get a taste of it and realize how much they are saving, they'll want more. It's just inevitable.
AF may still require their American counterparts to start the call with a "Bonjour", at some point, this silliness will fade as well. It's a process.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 20):
I do hope that with these mergers, we will one day see multihub carriers like we do in the US with names like "EUROPEAN" or...um... well, let's not worry about what the competitor will be named now.

Would be smart for either LH, BA or AF to start thinking in this direction. Maybe start out by using the word "European Air Lines" as a sub title on the fuselage. In 10 years, people would be used to it and the main title could be retired. Nothing is impossible in branding and marketing. Their may have been failures in trying new things. You never know if you don't try. One carrier will step up to the plate one day and brand itself "European" in some way or form, not just the limited euro branding we are seeing now.



Question Conventional Wisdom. While not all commonly held beliefs are wrong…all should be questioned.
User currently offlineseamefly From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 317 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 20 hours ago) and read 3582 times:

can anyone, other than the Dutches themselves, seriously pronounce the whole name of KLM? It seems such a difficult name to pronounce !

User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25125 posts, RR: 22
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 16 hours ago) and read 3356 times:

[quote=SR4ever,reply=19]KLM will and shall remain a brand of its own, but more convergence towards an upgraded, more consistent AF-KLM product would be more than welcome, such as a re-instatement of F class at KL,[/quote

F class on KL would be a big mistake in my opinion. The overall market is much too small and KL serves almost no O&D markets with much F demand. A passenger in a market where some F class demand remains, such as JFK-LHR, isn't going to waste time connecting on KL via AMS and spend the last hour of the trip in a Y class seat. That's why KL dropped F many years ago.

AF has also dropped F class except on routes where a market still exists, and their F class cabins are small (9 seats on A380, 8 seats on those 77Ws that still have F, only 4 seats on 772s). They dropped F class on 744s and A340s.


User currently offlineavek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4368 posts, RR: 19
Reply 24, posted (3 years 9 months 15 hours ago) and read 3273 times:

There's a HUGE con to eliminating the KLM brand -- the airline's superior cost structure and profitability compared to AIRFRANCE. Depending on who you ask and how you ask the question, AIRFRANCE's cost structure is anywhere from 40-100% HIGHER than KLM's. Historically speaking, when two airlines are fully combined, costs of the merged entity tend to trend towards those of the more expensive operation - and there are all sorts of politico-economic reasons as to why such would be the case if AIRFRANCE and KLM were combined into one airline.

Put another way, KLM in its current form is a relative cash cow, and there's no financial upside into merging its operations with AIRFRANCE.



Live life to the fullest.
25 Eagleboy : You don't need to, just say "K-L-M", everyone will know what you mean.........
26 SR4ever : AMS and the Randstad area can justify F cabin on some routes, and transit may also fill F, especially on Gulf and Far East routes + selected American
27 kiwiandrew : Would there really be sufficient F class traffic for KL to warrant all the other costs associated with with re-introducing F , such as building new F
28 SR4ever : Part of these costs could be shared with AF.
29 Viscount724 : But those 4 F class seats are going to use the same space as about 30 Y class seats on a 77W for example, and they would often be empty, as well as r
30 SR4ever : I don't thin the F cabin would always a 0 loading... And F should be part of a retaliation strategy against Gulf carriers I believe. Obviously, AF-KL
31 DocLightning : Or name the parent company the "European Airline Group" and gradually phase "European Airlines" into use.
32 AeroWesty : Eventually, the law of diminishing returns will catch up, so that may not necessarily be true. You can't just keep throwing more seats at a route fig
33 Viscount724 : The global air travel market is increasing at double digit annual rates meaning that more seats will be needed if airlines want to maintain their mar
34 luckyone : Thai's has changed pretty radically IMHO.
35 AeroWesty : It's also become much more fractured, and there's no clear evidence that that won't continue. Sabena was running 747s between JFK and BRU in the earl
36 Post contains images kiwiandrew : Valid point , but bad example ...the words "profit"and "Sabena" never really belonged in the same sentence
37 Viscount724 : Also have to consider that Sabena 747s were combis with cargo in the rear main deck cabin. Total passenger capacity was roughly the same as many of t
38 AeroWesty : I hate to put it this way, but that's simply posturing. Your comment leaves us with absolutely no facts as to what the market has grown since 1971-72
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