SkyTeam Governing Board Discusses Alliance Growth
Thursday June 10, 2:00 am ET
On eve of fourth anniversary, CEOs anticipate expanded benefits for travelers in Asia with the addition of Continental Airlines, KLM and Northwest Airlines
SEOUL, June 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At their meeting today in Seoul, the SkyTeam Governing Board officially welcomed applications for membership from Continental Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines, fulfilling the original request for membership made by KLM in September 2003 when its merger with Air France was announced. The Governing Board members discussed the benefits the nine-member alliance will bring to passengers traveling to and from Asia. Together, the three pending members will add more than 120 new global destinations, more than 110 new lounges and more than 5,500 new daily departures for customers traveling throughout the world. In Asia, the alliance will expand its network in the region to nine new destinations.
Yang-Ho Cho, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Korean Air, congratulated Continental, KLM and Northwest on their decision to join the alliance. "The three pending members, Continental, KLM and Northwest, each have had a strong presence in Asia and we look forward to their official entry into membership in September. The alliance is poised to take advantage of growth opportunities in the Asian market and provide more options and greater convenience for SkyTeam passengers."
Each of the pending members has a rich history in the region, spanning the past 76 years.
KLM is the world's oldest international airline. In 1928, it launched what was then the longest international route, from Amsterdam to Indonesia.
Northwest began serving Shanghai in 1947, and was the earliest to fly over Alaska and the Aleutians en route. In 1947, the airline was among the first to launch key transpacific routes between the U.S. and Japan. Today, Northwest is the largest U.S. carrier between the two countries.
Continental launched Air Micronesia in 1968 to better serve the Asia Pacific region. Today, the subsidiary known as Continental Micronesia operates a Pacific hub from Guam offering more than 290 departures each week between 22 cities throughout the Pacific Rim, Japan, the Micronesian Islands and Hawaii. Additionally, Continental operates transpacific service on the Tokyo-New York, Tokyo-Houston and Hong Kong-New York routes.
Northwest's hub at Tokyo-Narita and Continental's hub at Guam will complement the alliance's strong global hub network, including SkyTeam's current Asian hub at Seoul-Incheon International Airport, and provide additional frequencies for passengers traveling from Asia to points in Oceania and the U.S. Incheon is centrally located between two key aviation routes - the North Pacific air route linking Southeast Asia, as well as the North America and Siberian air routes, connecting Northeast Asia and Europe. Serving as the alliance's gateway to the region, the six current SkyTeam members are co-located in the same terminal and enjoy shared facilities at Incheon.
"As we celebrate our fourth anniversary, SkyTeam is extremely proud of the extensive network we've built around our customers needs," said Mr. Cho. "With Continental, KLM and Northwest, we look forward to enhancing the network with nine new hubs that will provide our passengers with even more choices."
The nine hubs include:
Amsterdam, The Netherlands -- Cleveland, Ohio, United States -- Guam -- Houston, Texas, United States -- Newark, New Jersey, United States -- Detroit, Michigan, United States -- Memphis, Tennessee, United States -- Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, United States -- Tokyo, Japan
Since its launch four years ago, SkyTeam remains focused on the customer, continually seeking strategic opportunities to add benefits for its passengers. The Governing Board, which is comprised of the chief executives of the SkyTeam member airlines, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air, meets semi-annually to discuss SkyTeam progress and announce major initiatives that benefit customers.
SkyTeam is the global airline alliance partnering Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air. Through one of the world's most extensive hub networks, SkyTeam offers its 212 million annual passengers a worldwide system of approximately 7,800 daily flights covering all major destinations.