World Cup Airlines Get In on Games

Naturally, the World Cup is encouraging friendly rivalry between competing nations, but now it seems the flag-carriers of said nations are getting in on the game.

According to Reuters, the closing stages of the competition mirror a showdown between the world's three major airline alliances, each of which has a flag carrier representing one of the remaining teams.

Dutch airline KLM is scrambling to send extra planes to South Africa today after the Netherlands reached the World Cup final. Spain and Germany will battle for the other final place Wednesday and the result could mean a multimillion-dollar windfall for airlines as thousands of extra fans flock to Johannesburg's Soccer City in the hope of finding tickets.

Tuesday's victory over Uruguay put the Netherlands in the July 11 final for the first time since 1978. KLM's website was quoting $5,015 for an economy ticket leaving on Friday and returning on Tuesday, but seats were available for about $1,822 with a longer stay.

KLM is part of the Skyteam alliance together with sister airline Air France. Iberia is part of the "oneworld" global airlines club together with its planned merger partner British Airways and Germany's Lufthansa is part of the Star Alliance alongside South African Airways.

KLM said it would add four flights offering a total of 1,000 seats to Johannesburg, three from Amsterdam and one from Paris.

KLM partner Air France already operates the Airbus A380 superjumbo daily from Paris to Johannesburg and could bring in another 250-seat Boeing 777-200, a spokeswoman said.


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