Air France Reaction to Delta/Northwest/Continental Deal

Air France has warmly welcomed the news of an agreement between Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines. This agreement was the result of talks of which Delta, fellow founder member of the SkyTeam Alliance, kept Air France regularly informed.

This marketing agreement arose from to the necessity of American carriers having to react to the very serious consequences of the September 11 terrorist attacks, both by rationalizing their operations and by offering consumers improvements in terms of destinations, schedules, frequencies and conditions of transport.

The carriers signing the agreement underlined that it would initially concern the North American domestic market before being expanded to encompass intercontinental routes. Within this framework and once talks with partner airlines - particularly in Europe - of Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and Continental have been held, the agreement could lead to an expansion of the SkyTeam global alliance, which was set up in June 2000 and today includes AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air. This is good news indeed for Air France since SkyTeam would then become the world`s leading alliance with all the benefits this will bring to its international consumers.

In similar fashion to the way in which air transport has evolved in the United States, an evolution of this sector is inevitable in Europe due to the existence of a single economic and monetary market. It will lead to the formation of two or three major clusters based around the main European Union carriers with commitments in worldwide alliances alongside American, Asian and African partners.
Air France has not only the vocation but also the determination to actively participate in this process, by pooling with European airlines which want to cooperate in the building of such a cluster: it is towards this goal that partnerships have been concluded with Alitalia and CSA. Moreover, Air France has engaged talks on various subjects with other European airlines including KLM, a first rate carrier reputed for its professionalism and proven performance. Air France`s partners in the SkyTeam Alliance have been kept informed. Talks between Air France and KLM are continuing and will take into account the agreement which has just been concluded in the US between KLM`s partners (Northwest, Continental) and Air France`s partner Delta.