Continental, KLM and Northwest Join SkyTeam

Continental, KLM and Northwest Join SkyTeam

Continental, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest have joined the SkyTeam Alliance, joining Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air in the second-largest airline network in the world.

The SkyTeam Alliance combines the route networks of all nine carriers, together offering over 14,000 daily departures to more than 650 destinations in over 130 countries across the globe. The nine carriers have 14,320 daily departures to be exact.

As veteran flyers know, alliances allow passengers traveling on multiple airlines to be treated as if they were traveling on a single carrier, accruing miles in a single allied program, rather than splitting their earnings between carriers.

For example, a Continental OnePass member can now earn OnePass miles on any of the other eight airlines in SkyTeam.

On the ground, SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers now have access to an additional 62 airport lounges — bringing the total number of the alliance’s airport lounges to more than 390.

In the past, alliances have eased financial burdens on members by increasing revenues with minimal outlay. Alliances, including the Star Alliance and oneworld, allow airlines to sell seats on flights operated by their partners, thus attracting more passengers without having to invest in new planes or develop new routes.

Northwest, for example, says that its long-standing partnership with KLM contributes roughly $1 billion a year, and that its marketing partnership with Continental, which began in 1998, adds $125 million to $150 million a year to the airline’s bottom line. Its partnership with Delta, launched last year, is expected to contribute about $100 million a year.

Company officials declined to estimate what financial impact the SkyTeam alliance will have on Northwest’s revenue.

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