Breaking Travel News

Continental, KLM and Northwest Join SkyTeam

Global travelers will have
additional route and fare choices as SkyTeam today announced that
Continental Airlines , KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines are
now full members of one of the world’s fastest growing airline alliances.
The SkyTeam Governing Board also revealed that effective Sept. 15,
passengers will be able to accrue and redeem frequent flyer miles
interchangeably on any of the nine member airlines. With the addition of
three new members, SkyTeam now serves 341 million passengers with 14,320
daily departures to 658 global destinations in more than 130 countries.
SkyTeam’s Governing Board said, “The entry of Continental, KLM and
Northwest into the alliance marks the single largest airline integration
in aviation history and is an important milestone for global airline
customers. When the alliance launched in 2000, we promised SkyTeam would
alter the competitive landscape for airline alliances by focusing on the
needs of our customers. Our growth over the past four years in terms of
network reach, frequencies and destinations is a testament to our
commitment to continually live up to that promise.”

Growing the Network

The three new carriers add to SkyTeam’s extensive network of hubs and
destination cities, allowing member airlines to provide their passengers
more travel options. Together, the three new members add ten additional
hub locations and 141 new destinations to the alliance’s roster,
strengthening SkyTeam’s reach in all key travel regions:

—In Asia-Pacific, Northwest’s hub at Tokyo’s Narita airport and
Continental’s Guam hub will join Korean Air’s Seoul-Incheon hub as
SkyTeam’s major hubs in the region, linking passengers to 11 new
destinations in five countries. SkyTeam’s Asia offerings now include
Northwest’s new service from Portland, Oregon to Tokyo-Narita and service
from Detroit to Guangzhou, China, scheduled to begin in late October. In
addition, Continental begins new service between Honolulu and Nagoya,
Japan in December. Thanks to combined network and fares, Air France and
KLM are able to offer unparalleled service between Europe and Asia.—In
Europe, with four European carriers, including Europe’s first pan-
European airline group, SkyTeam will now offer passengers more choice on
transatlantic routes. With Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines and
KLM, SkyTeam has hubs and strong market positions in all European regions
and a very extensive intra European network.—In the Americas, with
Aeromexico and Delta Air Lines , the addition of Continental and Northwest
will further open up service to and from Canada, Latin America and the
Caribbean, adding cities such as Quebec, Quito and Aguadilla (Puerto Rico)
to SkyTeam’s network. Continental’s extensive transatlantic network
serving 19 destinations will also provide SkyTeam customers with
additional service options from its international gateways in Houston and
Newark/New York. Northwest’s Detroit and Minneapolis hubs provide
additional travel options for European customers bound for Midwest cities.
—In Africa, KLM’s strong network will allow alliance passengers to
access key cities such as Cape Town (South Africa), Dar es Salaam
(Tanzania), Kano (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya). Underscoring the Customer

In addition to more travel options, SkyTeam member airlines will provide
customers greater recognition in terms of frequent flyer mileage accrual
and redemption possibilities, all with consistent, high quality service.
Effective Sept. 15, 2004, passengers traveling with any of the nine member
airlines can earn miles towards SkyTeam Elite status and redeem miles on
any of the nine airline members. This means that customers can accrue
valuable frequent flyer miles quicker than before.


On the ground, SkyTeam Elite Plus passengers have access to an additional
62 state-of-the-art airport lounges with amenities to make travel easier -
bringing the total number of airport lounges to more than 390. For
example, Northwest’s WorldClubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Tokyo
and all of Continental’s Presidents Club locations feature wireless
fidelity (Wi-Fi) access and computer battery charging ports. And
Northwest’s WorldClubs at Detroit and Tokyo have showers to provide a
truly refreshing break for busy global travelers. In addition, passengers
will continue to experience the existing SkyTeam customer benefits,
including a single check-in for connecting flights and baggage.

Gordon Bethune, Chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines, said, “Around
the world, today’s air travelers demand reliability, flexibility and high-
quality service. We know from our previous dealings with them that the
SkyTeam members are world-beaters by all these measures, and we’re proud
to be part of a global alliance that shares our focus on the customer.”

“SkyTeam is not only benefiting the passengers, but also the cargo
customers”, said Leo van Wijk, CEO and president of KLM Royal Dutch
Airlines. “SkyTeam Cargo, with Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA,
Delta, KLM and Korean, offers the largest global cargo network for its
customers. SkyTeam Cargo operates a worldwide system of more than 500
destinations in 110 countries and provides a consistent standard of
performance, quality and service.”

“We look forward to providing our customers with even greater access to
the world through SkyTeam,” said Richard Anderson, CEO of Northwest
Airlines. “In turn, Continental, KLM and Northwest will provide the
consistent, quality service SkyTeam passengers have come to expect.”

Alliances in a Changing Industry

SkyTeam carriers are able to provide their customers with additional
services and benefits because of their alliance membership. At the same
time, the member carriers also benefit from a business perspective by
maximizing efficiencies and exploring synergies with partner carriers.

Speaking on behalf of the founding members, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, CEO of
Air France and chairman of Air France-KLM, said, “In an ever transforming
industry, alliance membership is a necessity, allowing airlines to work
together and navigate change. As illustrated today, SkyTeam continues to
drive innovation in the industry as it welcomes two airlines from the US
and incorporates Europe’s leading airline group, Air France-KLM.”

Each of the new members have long been recognized as among the top
airlines in the world:

—Continental serves 265 airports in 47 countries with a fleet of 358
aircraft. With 41,000 employees, the carrier enplaned 52.2 million
passengers in 2003.—KLM serves over 130 airports in 65 countries with a
fleet of 112 aircraft. The airline employs more than 29,600 people and
carried 19 million passengers in IATA year 2003-2004.—Northwest is the
world’s fifth largest airline with hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul,
Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam. Northwest serves 222 cities. With a fleet of
458 aircraft, the airline employs some 39,000 people and carried 52.1
million passengers in 2003.