MOSCOW, April 14, 2006 - SkyTeam announced that effective today global travelers will have direct access to an expanded network in Russia as Aeroflot officially becomes the alliance's tenth member. SkyTeam is the first global airline alliance to welcome a Russian carrier.
With the addition of Aeroflot, SkyTeam will serve approximately 373 million passengers with nearly 15,000 daily departures to 728 global destinations in more than 149 countries. An official welcoming ceremony with key SkyTeam executives was held in Moscow.
"SkyTeam's expansion strategy is simple - the alliance is committed to serving the destinations our customers want to travel to most," said Jean-Cyril Spinetta, chairman and chief executive officer of Air France. "As we welcome Aeroflot into the alliance, our network now includes new markets in Russia and Eastern Europe that are poised for even greater passenger demand. With the addition of Sheremetyevo International Airport and particularly the opening of the new Aeroflot terminal 3 next year, SkyTeam is literally bringing the world closer together through a hub network that spans the globe, offering our passengers greater access and connectivity to Europe, Asia and around the world."
Aeroflot, the largest air carrier in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), has made significant progress over the past five years, enabling the airline to meet the levels of service and safety of the most effective airline companies of the world. In October 2005, Aeroflot successfully passed the International Airline Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), confirming its high operational standards. Also in 2005, the airline received an award for Onboard Service Improvement Excellence from Skytrax, a leading research and consultancy firm for the airline and air transport industry.
"Membership in the SkyTeam alliance will advance Aeroflot's growth and enhance operational efficiencies, thereby improving our service offerings to our highly-valued customers," said Valery Okulov, chief executive officer and chairman, Aeroflot. "We look forward to better serving our customers by linking them to the extensive SkyTeam network and providing them with more convenient connections, as well as the opportunity to earn more frequent flyer miles as they travel throughout the world."
As part of its membership, Aeroflot passengers will be able to accrue and redeem frequent flyer miles interchangeably on any of the nine other SkyTeam member airlines. In turn, SkyTeam passengers on flights operated by Aeroflot can earn miles in their preferred frequent flyer program.
Aeroflot, which has seen steady growth in passenger volume and profit over the past several years, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SkyTeam in May 2004. Since then, the airline has made several operational and service enhancements in order to meet the stringent requirements for joining one of the world's leading airline alliances. The Russian airline has boosted service quality for customers throughout its network, including in-flight service, and harmonized its flight system with that of SkyTeam. Aeroflot has also entered into bilateral agreements with all nine existing SkyTeam members.
As part of a fleet restructuring program, Aeroflot operates 18 new medium-haul Airbus and will receive 12 additional aircraft in 2006 and 2007, receiving strong support from both the aviation and the investment communities for this key improvement.
By the end of 2007, Aeroflot will complete construction of its passenger terminal at Sheremetyevo airport that will greatly improve ground service for Aeroflot and SkyTeam passengers.
Looking forward, the airline has plans to phase in e-ticketing, which will allow the company to achieve savings, while also increasing convenience for customers.
SkyTeam is the global airline alliance partnering ten members, including Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air France, Alitalia, Continental Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines. Through one of the world's most extensive hub networks, SkyTeam offers its approximately 373 million annual passengers a worldwide system of nearly 15,000 daily flights covering all major destinations. In 2005, readers of Global Traveler Magazine voted SkyTeam "Best Airline Alliance."
Visit SkyTeam on the Web at www.skyteam.com.
Based out of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, Russia, Aeroflot began operations in 1923. It is the largest international and domestic air carrier in the country, accounting for 39 percent of international traffic and 11 percent of domestic traffic in the country. In 2005, the airline served 6.8 million passengers, connecting them to 86 cities in 46 countries. Aeroflot operates 302 flights daily with a fleet of 81 aircraft.