For the second consecutive year, SkyTeam was named the 2006 Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler Magazine on January 23.
On February 2, SkyTeam signed agreements with Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways, indicating that the carriers are on track for official Associate Airline status. The agreements are a formal step in the alliance's Associate process and outline the carriers' commitment to meet the standards to be recognized as official Associate Airlines.
On June 4, SkyTeam named Leo van Wijk as its first chairman of the alliance. The announcement was made during SkyTeam's Governing Board meeting in Vancouver.
On September 4, SkyTeam announced the first three members of its Associate Program, Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways. Passengers traveling with the three carriers now receive full SkyTeam benefits, including earning and redeeming miles on flights and airport lounge access.
On November 15, China Southern Airlines became the 11th full member of SkyTeam, making the alliance the first to welcome a carrier from mainland China. With the addition of China Southern Airlines, SkyTeam now serves approximately 428 million annual passengers through a worldwide system of 16,400 daily flights, covering 841 destinations in 162 countries.