Carriers Enter Into Transatlantic Agreement

SkyTeam partners Air France and Delta Air Lines on Wednesday entered into an agreement to share revenue and costs on transatlantic routes, a move that the carriers expect will increase profit, competition and travel choices in key markets. Such an agreement is possible thanks to the Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, which goes into effect March 2008. As such, the joint venture is slated for its first phase of implementation next April, encompassing all nonstop flights operated by Air France and Delta between Air France's Paris-CDG, Orly and Lyon hubs and Delta's Atlanta, New York-JFK, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City hubs. It also includes flights operated by both carriers between London's Heathrow airport and various U.S. destinations. All flights will operate on a code share basis.

This first phase allows for three routes not currently served with nonstop flights, the carriers said, including New York-JFK to Orly and Lyon, France; and Salt Lake City to Paris-CDG; all operated by Delta.

By 2010, the agreement will extend to all transatlantic flights operated by Air France and Delta between Europe, the Mediterranean and North America and Los Angeles and Tahiti. In a statement, the carriers pointed out that this partnership is not a precursor to the creation of a subsidiary. Instead, it will be managed by a steering committee formed by the two airlines, which will oversee nine groups responsible for coordinating the day-to-day implementation of the plan. Visit [] or []. (JM)