Reborn Italian flag-carrier Alitalia has joined a trans-Atlantic venture with Air France-KLM and Delta Airlines.
While the joint venture – initially launched in 2009 - will see the carriers sharing revenue and costs, it stops short of a merger.
With Alitalia’s addition, the venture now represents approximately 26 per cent of total trans-Atlantic capacity – offering 250 flights and approximately 55,000 seats each day.
Annual revenues are estimated at more than $10 billion.
The schedule – which participants argue is the world’s largest trans-Atlantic network – will now include 20 flights a day from Rome and Milan to five US cities.
“Trans-Atlantic traffic is the most strategic and competitive marketplace,” said Alitalia’s chief executive Rocco Sabelli.
“Today marks an important milestone in Alitalia’s development plan.”
The venture is the latest stage in the redevelopment of the Alitalia-brand, which was launched following the private acquisition of state owned Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane and former competitor Air One.
Governance of the joint venture will be equally shared between Alitalia, the Air France-KLM Group and Delta. Alitalia representatives will immediately join the joint venture’s 11 working groups.
Alitalia will also be included in all joint venture initiatives, including joint sales contracts, which launched in January 2009.
The joint venture’s geographic scope includes all flights between North America and Europe, between Amsterdam and India and between North America and Tahiti.
The deal is effective until at least March 31st 2022.
The long history of cooperation among Air France, KLM and Delta dates to 1997, when KLM signed a joint venture agreement with Northwest Airlines. Delta, which merged with Northwest in 2008, signed its own joint venture agreement with Air France in 2007 following eight years of close trans-Atlantic cooperation.
In 2009, both joint ventures were combined into one following the Delta-Northwest and Air France-KLM mergers.
“The inclusion of Alitalia is an important step for the joint venture and will strengthen the position of the other joint venture partners in the very important Italian market,” said KLM president Peter Hartman.
“Our customers can now choose between multiple gateways in the United States as well as in Europe, via Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Rome Fiumicino,” he concluded.