The airline alliance SkyTeam appears to have had a nice March so far, as the group was recently awarded the “Alliance of the Year” title in the Air Transport Awards 2023, held in Montreal, Canada, on Sunday March 19.
This becomes the second big event for the airline group, after the alliance celebrated the addition of Virgin Atlantic to the group on March 2.
Following the Air Transport Awards 2023, held in Montreal on March 19, the airline group SkyTeam was awarded the title “Alliance of the Year” for the third time.
The annual awards are the only international prizes awarding all the main categories of the air transport industry, and the award comes just after the recent celebrations of Virgin Atlantic successfully joining the alliance on March 2, earlier this month.
Having established itself as a driving force for greener air travel for the past twelve months, SkyTeam also launched “The Sustainable Flight Challenge” back in May of 2022.
As well as helping customers to travel more sustainably, the alliance’s ongoing focus on technology continues to make travel more seamless, while SkyTeam travellers have two new lounges to enjoy globally, being Santiago de Chile and São Paulo.
SkyTeam is also the first alliance to have unanimously committed to the 25 by 2025 initiative by IATA, set to increase the gender diversity in the aviation industry.
Announcing the award, Dr. Kostas Iatrou, Director General of the Air Transport Organization said: “SkyTeam is taking a holistic approach to global travel, where its commitment to a seamless customer experience is matched by a commitment to caring for the planet.”
“The judges were also impressed by SkyTeam’s work to increase gender diversity in the aviation industry through its RISE Leadership program and alliance-wide participation in IATA’s 25by2025 initiative.”
CEO & Managing Director of SkyTeam, Patrick Roux, commented on the award saying:
“Across our global network, SkyTeam people work hard day in, day out to deliver a more seamless customer experience – from SkyPriority airport services to new lounges in São Paulo and Santiago de Chile.”
“And as well as a focus on transforming the travel experience through technology, we are working to make customers’ travel with SkyTeam more sustainable through the Sustainable Flight Challenge which is driving new innovations and ways of working to create a greener future for our industry.”
The addition of Virgin Atlantic
At a signing ceremony on 2 March 2023, held in the airline’s home city of London, Virgin Atlantic completed the process of joining the airline alliance. It becomes SkyTeam’s first and only British airline.
The airline adds connectivity for the alliance via its Heathrow and Manchester bases in the UK, particularly across the Atlantic in its existing network.
Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, commented: “SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company.”
Virgin Atlantic joins sister airline, and shareholder, Delta Airlines in the alliance. The Heathrow-based carrier already has existing codeshare schemes with Delta and Air France-KLM, both members of SkyTeam.
There are also codeshare agreements in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines, again existing SkyTeam members.
Through alliance membership, adding the remaining SkyTeam members to the company’s interline agreements will aim to create a “seamless journey on one ticket” for Virgin and SkyTeam customers.
In the joint statement, Patrick Roux, SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to welcome Virgin Atlantic into SkyTeam, taking an already close relationship to new heights.”
As Virgin is the alliance’s first and only UK member airline, Roux added: “The U.K. is a key market for SkyTeam and with Virgin Atlantic on board, customers can look forward to more opportunities to earn and redeem miles as they fly.”