Today, July 9th 2001, Air France and Alitalia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Rome.
According to the terms of this MOU, Air France and Alitalia agree to a round of exclusive talks to develop enhanced marketing activities in view of Alitalia`s possible membership of SkyTeam.
“The French and Italian markets, third and fourth largest in Europe, have a great deal in common, with a fairly even balance between business and leisure traffic. Italy is a strategic market for Air France, which serves 12 major Italian destinations with over 50 flights a day. By embarking on these exclusive bilateral discussions, Air France and Alitalia are seeking ways to enhance their services in order to compete with those offered by European airlines who are already members of other global alliances. Within the SkyTeam alliance, Air France is seeking to create a powerful European force alongside Alitalia and CSA to counter what competing airlines have to offer”, declared Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
Subjects to be discussed by Air France and Alitalia during these negotiations will have the common aim of improved passenger service, including extended code-sharing wherever possible, harmonization of MilleMiglia and Fréquence Plus frequent flyer programs, a coordinated offer of services, particularly on routes between Italy and France, and Alitalia`s membership of SkyTeam. Negotiations will also cover reinforced cooperation in cargo, IT systems and the maintenance and overhaul of aircraft.
At the same time, Alitalia has also signed an MOU with Delta Air Lines, Air France partner and founding member of SkyTeam, thus paving the way for exclusive talks between the two airlines.
During the financial year 2000-2001 Air France flew over 42 million passengers in its fleet of 365 aircraft including 127 regional planes. The airline operates flights to 208 destinations worldwide. With a turnover of 12.3 bn euros, Air France ranks third world wide in terms of international passenger traffic and 4th for international freight transport. Air France also ranks second in the world for aircraft maintenance.
Alitalia carried 26.5 million passengers in the year 2000, and posted operating revenues of 5.46 billion euros. Alitalia has a fleet of 166 aircraft and operates flights to 119 destinations worldwide.