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Thu 1 Feb 2007 12:00 AM

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Air France strengthens Middle East hold

Air France has signaled its commitment to the Middle East market by expanding and improving its services to Paris and working more closely with the travel trade.

Air France has signaled its commitment to the Middle East market by expanding and improving its services to Paris and working more closely with the travel trade.

The French flag carrier has introduced a direct Jeddah-Paris service four times weekly, replacing its indirect Jeddah-Cairo-Paris route, and has upgraded the business class cabin on the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which serves the Dubai-Paris night flight.

It mission to step up trade activity is already underway, with fam trips last month and later this month staged for agents from the GCC.

“We are organising fam trips to promote our joint network with KLM to show agents how flights can be combined,” explained Kien Heang, commercial & marketing manager, Air France for Gulf, KSA, Iran & Pakistan (pictured). “Both teams (Air France and KLM) are supporting the trade in many ways to enhance product knowledge and keep everyone on track with our latest developments.”

Trade workshops, the Air France Crescendo loyalty programme for travel agents, a trade newsletter and themed evenings were just some of the initiatives being implemented, he added.

Last month’s four-day fam trip in conjunction with KLM saw 10 agents visit Amsterdam and Paris in association with Rezidor SAS hotels and this month, Air France and French tourism agency, Maison del la France, are arranging a fam for four UAE agents to visit high-end ski resorts in the Rhône-Alps region.

Future trips could combine trips to Paris and other regions of France with visits to Morocco in North Africa, added Heang.

The Air France and KLM dedicated Middle East and Africa customer service department opened in July and the airlines also operate a Flying Blue (customer loyalty programme) helpdesk for the Gulf Countries.

Air France and KLM offer 31 weekly flights from the UAE to Europe (Paris and Amsterdam) – 12 weekly Dubai-Paris, 12 weekly Dubai-Amsterdam and daily Abu Dhabi-Amsterdam (on codeshare with Air France).

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