London, February 5, 2008

SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, said today it looks forward to enhancing its customer offering and increasing its presence at London Heathrow International Airport (LHR) next month as the EU-U.S. open skies agreement takes effect.  

SkyTeam applauds the progress made with the first-stage transatlantic Open Skies agreement between the EU and the U.S,” said Leo van Wijk, chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board.  “We are pro-competition and strongly believe that greater liberalization in the aviation industry opens up new opportunities for travelers, as well as airlines and their employees.

As of March 30, 2008, SkyTeam travelers will have access to more route and flight options than ever before.  The alliance will offer in total 11 new daily frequencies through eight new nonstop routes – never before available to passengers traveling within the SkyTeam network – between the U.S. and LHR, including:

  • Daily service to and from Los Angeles (operated by Air France with Delta codesharing);
  • Twice-daily service to Houston (operated by Continental);
  • Daily service to Atlanta (operated by Delta with Air France codesharing);
  • Service to New York (twice-daily service to John F. Kennedy International (JFK) operated by Delta with Air France codesharing and twice-daily service to Newark Liberty International (EWR) operated by Continental); and
  • Daily service to Detroit, Minneapolis, and Seattle (operated by Northwest with KLM codesharing).

At this time, SkyTeam’s U.S. carriers – Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines – will begin serving LHR, the first U.S. airlines to gain new entry to the airport for the first time since 1991.  SkyTeam members Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, KLM and Korean Air already serve the UK gateway hub.  At the start of their service to LHR, Continental, Delta and Northwest will join KLM and Kenya Airways in Terminal 4. 

SkyTeam U.S. carriers with current service to London Gatwick airport (LGW) will continue to serve the airport with direct transatlantic routes.  Additionally, members Air France and KLM will continue serving London City Airport (LCY).

SkyTeam presence at London Heathrow
A prominent presence at LHR has been a long-term priority for SkyTeam, the first realization of which is the start of service by the U.S. carriers. 

Greater access to London Heathrow will improve passenger transfer convenience, but for SkyTeam, the opening of the airport is a symbol of change,” said Mr. van Wijk.  “For years, the airport was closed to most U.S. airlines, including the three U.S. carriers in the SkyTeam alliance. With the open skies agreement, Heathrow is now open for more competition, which is good for the passenger.

Now the future anchor alliance of Terminal 4, SkyTeam began taking steps toward creating a shared terminal at LHR almost two years ago.  Throughout this process, the alliance has been working closely with the British Airport Authority (BAA) on plans to transform the facility into a SkyTeam showcase and ensure that the alliance’s customers enjoy a competitive experience as they travel through LHR.  Today, the alliance’s vision for the co-location includes making the facility into a mini-hub – “a home away from home” for member airlines serving the airport. 

SkyTeam’s move to Terminal 4 – part of a broader airport relocation project coordinated by BAA – will take effect over the next 12 months, with the welcoming of the U.S. carriers completing the first phase. 

Czech Airlines’ Move at Heathrow Airport
Czech Airlines’ flights will likely be moved to Terminal 4 in early 2009, together with those of the other SkyTeam carriers.  For Czech Airlines passengers using the London airport for transferring to connecting flights of Czech Airlines’ alliance partners, the move of the entire SkyTeam into one terminal will bring a significant simplification, and a reduction in transfer time, more transfer options within one terminal, and also, with the opening of the first joint SkyTeam VIP Lounge, an improvement in services.


Media Contact:

Daniela Hupáková
Communications Director
Czech Airlines Spokesperson
220 11 6220  (In the Czech Republic)

SkyTeam Communications
646-935-3961 (In the U.S.)


About SkyTeam
SkyTeam is the global airline alliance partnering eleven members, including Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern Airlines, Continental Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines, and three Associate Airlines: Air Europa (Spain), Copa Airlines (Panama) and Kenya Airways.  Through one of the world’s most extensive hub networks, SkyTeam offers its 428 million annual passengers a worldwide system of 16,400 daily flights covering 841 destinations in 162 countries.  www.skyteam.com.