Beijing, June 11th – SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, announced several priority initiatives to enrich the customer proposition, strengthen the global network and achieve synergies. At their semi-annual meeting held in Beijing on June 10th, the chief executives of the SkyTeam member airlines endorsed the acceleration of multiple projects, aimed to improve the transfer processes between members.
After the SkyTeam Governing Board meeting, Managing Director Michael Wisbrun shared the priorities of the alliance and the status of several projects. “The industry is facing tumultuous times. As an alliance we can and must add value to our members’ businesses”, said Mr. Wisbrun. “We do that by focusing on three clear priority areas; enriching our customer proposition, looking for new opportunities to expand and strengthen our global network and finding synergies for our members.”
Improving the airport experience
In 2012, SkyTeam rolled-out SkyPriority, a series of distinctive branded priority airport services consistently offered to Elite Plus, First and Business Class customers throughout the alliance network. SkyPriority aims to help top customers travel faster through the airport – from checking in, to security, boarding and picking up their bags.
“We like to call it the red carpet treatment for our top customers”, said Mr. Wisbrun. “The SkyPriority brand was developed by Delta in 2010 and proved so successful we’re expanding it alliance-wide.” Since the roll-out started in March 2012, SkyPriority is currently available at over 550 airports globally, to be implemented throughout the entire SkyTeam network by early 2013.
Another SkyTeam initiative is SkyTransfer, improving further on seamless, straightforward transfers of passengers and their baggage from one member airline to another. Currently, SkyTeam members offer 300,000+ weekly saleable connections. “Customers want seamless connectivity, said Mr. Wisbrun. “And we want to deliver a superior airport experience, using the best practices of our top hubs.” SkyTeam has identified multiple areas to improve the transfer process between members. Some elements are organizing recognition and service recovery, monitoring critical transfers and staff training. The first nine airports selected as ‘excellence hubs’ also represent the highest transfer flows within the SkyTeam network: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Beijing, Guangzhou, Mexico City, Paris, Rome, Seoul and Shanghai.
The third initiative to improve the airport experience and achieve synergies is SkyPort, increasing the number of shared locations worldwide. Co-located facilities such as London Heathrow T4, Tokyo Narita and Beijing enable customers to check-in at SkyTeam areas or self-service kiosks. In 2012 the alliance plans to open two new SkyTeam branded lounges, in Beijing and Istanbul. Furthermore, SkyTeam partners are starting a pilot for fast bag drop at London Heathrow T4.
Expanding and strengthening the global network
With the recent joining of Saudia, SkyTeam welcomed its first member from the Middle East, giving the alliance a strong foothold in this important economic region. On June 28th, Middle East Airlines from Lebanon will be the next member to join SkyTeam. The alliance will welcome two additional members in 2012. Aerolíneas Argentinas is scheduled to join the alliance August 29th as the first South American member, strengthening SkyTeam network in the southern hemisphere. On November 15th, Xiamen Airlines, based in the flourishing Southeast China region, will further consolidate the alliance #1 position in Greater China.
The effective joining date of Garuda Indonesia, expanding SkyTeam’s presence in Southeast Asia, has been planned for early 2014. This is due to Garuda’s selection of a new IT platform and the time necessary to migrate the airline to the new system.
As there are still relevant areas to expand the network, SkyTeam continues to monitor options to create further market access in the white spots Brazil and India.
With three members from Greater China (China Southern, China Eastern and China Airlines), and one in the process of joining SkyTeam by the end of this year (Xiamen Airlines), SkyTeam has cemented its position as the #1 airline alliance in the region.
On June 10th, SkyTeam signed a cooperation agreement with Beijing Capital International Airport. Effective immediately, parties will work together to pave the way for customer-focused initiatives to be introduced at the airport. The agreement is the third signed by the alliance and its members in China in 2012. Similar agreements were signed with members China Southern and China Eastern and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
“These agreements build on our efforts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to deliver a superior airport experience,” said Michael Wisbrun. “Our goal is to offer passengers the very best service. It’s all about efficient check-in procedures, baggage handling, transfer and customs processes. Close cooperation with the airports we serve is essential to identifying issues, delivering solutions and finding new opportunities at SkyTeam hubs worldwide.”
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SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam member airlines offer customers over 490 lounges worldwide. The sixteen members are: Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Saudia, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines. SkyTeam offers its 506 million annual customers over 14,700 daily flights to 958 destinations in 173 countries.
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