SkyTeam signs Agreements with Three Associate Airline Candidates

Travel News Asia Monday, 5 February 2007

The SkyTeam airline alliance has signed agreements with three airlines - Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways - indicating the carriers are on track for official Associate Airline status. The agreements are a formal step in the alliances Associate process and outline the carriers commitment to meet the standards to be recognized as official Associate Airlines.

SkyTeam's Associate Airline program clearly illustrates the Alliance strategy to develop a global network, with particular emphasis on certain key markets, said Dominique Patry, SkyTeam steering committee chairman and senior vice president of International Affairs and Alliances, Air France. Air Europa, Copa and Kenya Airways will give SkyTeam customers access to 25 additional destinations.

Official signing ceremonies were held on three continents on Friday. Each of the Associate Airline candidates was joined by the SkyTeam member airline which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance.

Air Europa Madrid

The ceremony held in Madrid was attended by Juan Jos Hidalgo, executive president of Globalia, the parent company of Air Europa, Maria-Jose Hidalgo, CEO of Air Europa, Patrick Alexandre, executive vice president of International Commercial Division, Air France and Dominique Patry.

The inclusion of Air Europa in the Associate Airline Program is a key phase in our airlines development. As members of a global alliance, we will be able to significantly increase our global offer, with greater travel opportunities for SkyTeam partner airline customers, said Juan-Jose Hidalgo.

The Associate Airline Program will enable us to increase our global offer to customers by further improving our services and frequencies, added Patrick Alexandre. As our alliance grows, it gives global business travelers even more options for planning their trips and reaching their destinations on quality carriers.

Copa Airlines - Panama City

In Panama City, Jorge Garca, vice president-commercial, signed the agreement on behalf of Copa.

Copas growth will be enhanced by its association with SkyTeam, which will allow more travelers to easily access and take advantage of our extensive intra-Latin American network, said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. We look forward to extending the SkyTeam brand in Latin America, while our passengers benefit from greater access to global destinations and seamless travel on SkyTeam partner airlines.

SkyTeams Latin America scope is significantly enhanced with the addition of Copas Panama City hub to its system, added Mark Erwin, senior vice president-corporate development, for Continental Airlines, which is sponsoring Copas entry into SkyTeam.

Kenya Airways - Nairobi

In Nairobi, the signing event was hosted by Titus Naikuni, CEO of Kenya Airways and Hans de Roos, senior vice president of Alliances at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Kenya Airways is extending the SkyTeam network to a prime market, said Hans de Roos. Having African representation will be beneficial to the alliance as passengers traveling to and from this area will have access via the SkyTeam network.

Titus Naikuni, CEO of Kenya Airways, added, Kenya Airways is certain to benefit from the expertise and services of all SkyTeam carriers, as well as from greater global recognition and SkyTeams worldwide network.

Moving Forward

Each Associate Airline candidate must meet a set of predetermined requirements in areas such as operations, information technology and products. Upon completion of the requirements, each candidate must receive formal approval from the Governing Board before becoming an official Associate Airline.

Once the Associate Airline candidates are officially recognized, passengers traveling with Air Europa, Copa Airlines or Kenya Airways will have the same benefits as passengers on member airlines, such as harmonized frequent flyer programs, codeshared flights and improved access to airport lounges.

See other recent news regarding: Airlines, SkyTeam

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