SkyTeam signs three new airline candidates
The global airline alliance SkyTeam reports signing agreements with three airlines - Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways - a formal step suggesting that the airlines are on track for official Associate Airline status.
For the signing ceremonies, each of the three Associate Airline candidates was joined by the SkyTeam member airline which is sponsoring its entry into the alliance. According to Dominique Patry, SkyTeam steering committee chairman and senior vice president of International Affairs and Alliances for Air France, "SkyTeam's Associate Airline programme illustrates the alliance's strategy to develop a global network, with particular emphasis on certain key markets. Air Europa, Copa and Kenya Airways will give SkyTeam customers access to 25 additional destinations."
Loyalty & benefit reciprocation Once the Associate Airline candidates are officially recognised, passengers travelling with Air Europa, Copa Airlines or Kenya Airways will have the same benefits as passengers on member airlines, such as harmonised frequent flyer programmes, codeshared flights and improved access to airport lounges.
Air Europa The signing ceremony in Madrid was attended by Juan-Jose 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 programme is a key phase in our airline's 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.
Copa airlines In Panama City, Jorge Garcia, vice president-commercial, signed the agreement on behalf of Copa. According to Pedro Heilbron, CEO for Copa Airlines, "Copa's growth will be enhanced by its association with SkyTeam, which will allow more travellers to easily access and take advantage of our intra-Latin American network."
Kenya Airways 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. Hans de Roos commented: "Having African representation will be beneficial to the alliance as passengers travelling to and from this area will have access via the SkyTeam network."
Requirements laid out 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.