The global airline alliance, Sky Team, last Tuesday, engulfed Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways as the first official Sky Team Associate Airlines in a bid to provide passengers with exclusive benefits. Sky Team is the global airline alliance partnering ten members, including Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, Continental Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines and the three new Associate Airlines.
The SkyTeam Associate programme was launched to serve carriers in strategic regions who are interested in becoming affiliated Sky Team and its alliance benefits. Sky Team Associate Airlines operate under the direction of a sponsor member, who represents the interests of the Associate Airline in all decision-making situations and serves as the liaison between the Associate Airline and other alliance members.
The chairman of the Sky Team Governing Board, Leo Van Wijk, stated: "The Associate Programme allows the alliance to build a broader network and provide customers with access to additional regions of the world, while further expanding Sky Team's offerings."
He added that Sky Team is excited to welcome Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways to their associate programme and pleased to offer their passengers access to 47 additional destinations and nearly 500 additional daily flights.
Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airlines had earlier this year signed an agreement delineating their commitment to meet a set of predetermined safety, security and quality standards to be recognized as an Associate Airline.
According to the Sky Team Steering Committee chairman and senior vice president of International Affairs and Alliances, Air France, Dominique Patry, the integration of the Associate Airlines would benefit all parties involved.
Sky Team hopes to continue to evaluate opportunities to expand the Alliance's global network and enhance Sky Team's benefits to more than 378 million passengers around the world. It is also preparing to for the addition of China Southern, the largest airline in the People's Republic of China, as a member Airline later this year.