On January 29, SkyTeam welcomed Aeroflot's bid for membership in the alliance, pending approval from the Russian government and the fulfillment of the SkyTeam quality standards.
On February 12, the European Commission and U.S Department of Justice approved the Air France-KLM Royal Dutch Airlines intended merger. With the merger, KLM and Air France will form the first pan-European airline grouping, leading to KLM entering SkyTeam.
SkyTeam, in April, opened a joint sales office and joint check-in desks at Stuttgart Echterdingen Airport's new Terminal 3. SkyTeam members Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane, Air France and Delta Air Lines share Stuttgart facilities.
On May 4, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced the success of the Exchange Offer for KLM common shares by Air France. It was also announced that KLM, along with Continental and Northwest, would be joining SkyTeam in September 2004.
On May 24, SkyTeam signed an agreement with Aeroflot as a preliminary step in the new member process. The agreement outlines Aeroflot's intentions to undertake exclusive discussions to become a part of SkyTeam, pending fulfillment of the alliance's joining requirements.
In July, SkyTeam launched an America Pass specifically geared to accommodate leisure travelers visiting North American and Caribbean destinations. This customizable ticketing option brings a new level of convenience to SkyTeam passengers visiting multiple destinations within the region. The SkyTeam America Pass provides ease and speed with air travel, discounted prices and the ability to earn additional frequent flyer miles on each leg they fly.
On August 28, SkyTeam signed an agreement with China Southern as a preliminary step in the new member process. The agreement outlines China Southern's intentions to undertake exclusive discussions to become a part of SkyTeam, pending fulfillment of the alliance's joining requirements.
Continental Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines became full members of the SkyTeam alliance on September 13. Together, the nine-member alliance serves 341 million passengers with 14,320 daily departures to 658 global destinations in more than 130 countries.
On September 15, customers started realizing the benefits of the nine-member alliance.