Monday, January 10, 2011

Saudi Arabian Airlines to join SkyTeam

Saudi Arabian Airlines on Monday signed an agreement to join SkyTeam in 2012, when the Jeddah-based carrier will become the alliance's first Middle East member.

SkyTeam said Saudi Arabian will add 35 new destinations to its network. "Saudi Arabian Airlines complements the SkyTeam network by offering customers access to destinations across the Middle East not currently served by SkyTeam members," SkyTeam said in a statement.

It noted that the airline "is fully focused on its four-year turnaround program to be completed by 2013. Key elements of this plan include modernization of its infrastructure, restructuring of its domestic and international network and implementing its fleet modernization plan through the purchase of the most advanced aircraft."

Saudi Arabian DG Khalid Al-Molhem said, "Through the exchange of services and knowledge between all member airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines can achieve qualitative improvements, made available to our customers. These include airport services, ground services and first-class and business-class passenger lounges."

SkyTeam Chairman Leo van Wijk commented, "Saudi Arabian Airlines is a significant player in the Middle East and covers a considerable part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Its membership in SkyTeam will enable us to compete more efficiently within the region."

Last year, China Eastern Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Aerolineas Argentinas all agreed to join SkyTeam.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline)

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