, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – In an effort to offer enhanced value added benefits to its customers, Kenya Airways has become a full member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance, putting it at par with major global airlines.
Confirming the new development, KQ Group Managing Director and CEO, Titus Naikuni said the airline was the first in Africa to achieve this feat.
Mr Naikuni explained that due to the new status, customers would now have access to a more comprehensive network of routes and destinations.
“These are approximately 13,000 daily flights to 898 destinations in 169 countries, which is a significant increase from 6,402 daily flights to 451 destinations in 98 countries at the inception of the global airline alliance ten years ago,” he said.
Being a full SkyTeam member provides customers of member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers also earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network.
The CEO observed: “As deregulation and Open Skies agreements open opportunities for more effective business alignment, SkyTeam has emerged as a compelling proposition to enable airlines offer customers more connections across the globe”.
Mr Naikuni committed that Kenya Airways would deepen its co-operation with the other SkyTeam members to ensure growth and sustainability for the future. “We see more value for our customers as they will enjoy seamless services across many more destinations, “he noted.
Since its inception in year 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air, SkyTeam has grown to 13 members, including the recent addition of Vietnam Airlines and TAROM, expected to join the alliance tomorrow. Air Europa was also upgraded to full SkyTeam member status.
During a recent SkyTeam Government Board meeting in New York, members pledged to intensify cooperation and further develop the network to ensure valuable growth for both customers and members.
“Over the last 10 years, SkyTeam’s experience with ground breaking mergers and joint ventures has deepened the cooperation among our members, giving our customers access to more markets at lower fares. As we look back at SkyTeam’s steady growth of members, all are focusing on creating global coverage by linking complementary networks, flying from a few of the best hubs in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa. Today we offer our customers more destinations, more frequencies and more and better connectivity’’, said SkyTeam Governing Board Chairman Leo van Wijk.
During the Governing Board meeting, China Eastern signed an Adherence Agreement with SkyTeam, formally starting its process of joining the alliance.
SkyTeam’s Managing Director, Marie-Joseph Malé, outlined the value of a second Chinese member in the alliance: “Asia is a very important growth market for SkyTeam, and we are well on track to strengthen our offering in this fast-growing part of the world. With our newest member Vietnam Airlines, and China Eastern joining us in the future, we will offer our customers 10 percent more daily flights than today. Combined with China Southern and Korean Air, these four Asian carriers will further strengthen SkyTeam\’s presence in Asia and position us for future growth. And we still intend to add more Asian carriers to our group, thus firmly consolidating SkyTeam as THE alliance for Asia.”
SkyTeam is also focused on growing its presence in other regions of the world, such as Latin America, Southeast Asia and India and is pursuing a strategy of valuable growth by recruiting more members that offer our customers access into new regions.
SkyTeam’s 10-year anniversary also marks the introduction of a new membership program, to better match the alliances’ growth ambition.
The former Associate Airline program served carriers, including current partners of alliance members, who were interested in alliance benefits but did not meet all strategic criteria necessary to become full SkyTeam members. It allowed SkyTeam to build a broader network and provide customers with access to additional regions of the world.
With a higher degree of maturity reached in alliance development and integration, SkyTeam now fully integrates all members into the alliance. With this reclassification, Air Europa, Kenya Airways and new member TAROM will now also be referred to as Member airlines. This change will reinforce the cohesion among the partner airlines.