Madrid's Air Europa, Panama's Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways are the first carriers to join the SkyTeam alliance as associate airlines. The term "associate airlines" means that beginning this month, passengers flying those airlines receive the same benefits offered to passengers traveling on current SkyTeam member airlines, such as frequent flyer miles and lounge access. Associate airlines operate under the direction of a member sponsor, who represents the interest of the associate airline in the decision-making process and serves as the liaison between the associate airline and other alliance members, a release explained.
"The integration of the associate airlines will benefit all parties involved," Dominique Patry, SkyTeam's steering committee chairman and senior vice president of international affairs and alliances for Air France, a SkyTeam member, said in a statement. "Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways will gain resources from SkyTeam member airline expertise, while current SkyTeam carriers can leverage individual member airline partnerships across the alliance, which will provide for additional cooperation and growth opportunities." Visit [www.skyteam.com].