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Air France, Delta to reinstate codeshare with Korean Air

Air France and Delta Air Lines announced last month that they will reinstate their code share agreement with SkyTeam partner Korean Air on flights between Korea, France and the US beginning April 1, 2002 for Air France and May 1, 2002 for Delta.

In making the announcement, Paul Matsen, Delta's Senior VP-International & Alliances, said, "We are pleased that Korean Air has met and fully complied with all applicable International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety and service standards. We believe that Korean Air, like Air France and Delta, is committed to operating as a world-class airline that puts the safety and security of its passengers and employees first."

"When we resume code sharing with Korean Air, Air France will be able to offer its customers new services between Paris and Seoul and eventually additional code share flights beyond Seoul to the Far East and the Pacific," said Patrick Bianquis, Air France's Alliances VP.

Korean Air then will be fully integrated into the SkyTeam network that centers on powerful hubs: Atlanta the world's largest airport, Paris-CDG, Europe's leading hub and Seoul-Incheon, which has the greatest potential among Asian hubs.

The new Incheon airport, used by Korean Air as its hub, is centrally located between two key aviation routes, the North Pacific air route linking Southeast Asia, as well as the North America and Siberian air routes, connecting Northeast Asia and Europe. As the geographic center of the region, the airport is almost equidistant-about two hours-from Beijing and Tokyo. More than 40 major cities are within a four-hour flight and more than 1 billion people reside within 620 miles of Incheon.

Antitrust immunity

Meanwhile, Air France announced early this year that the US Department of Transport (DoT) granted antitrust immunity to the four SkyTeam alliance partners present on the Europe/US market: Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines and Delta.

Coming at a time when the air transport sector is going through a severe crisis, this decision will boost the positions of all four airlines by strengthening their marketing cooperation in SkyTeam through the coordination of resources.

With antitrust immunity, the four airlines will be able to harmonize their networks and schedules on North Atlantic routes. The coordination of Delta's US hubs with the Air France hub in Paris, CSA's hub in Prague and Alitalia's hubs in Milan and Rome will enhance the alliance's commercial offering with an optimized choice of frequencies and destinations.

Furthermore, the antitrust immunity granted by US Authorities will enable the airlines concerned to coordinate their marketing policies in order to enhance services offered to customers, thanks to standardized products and procedures.

Finally, the harmonization of resources will generate economies of scale, which in turn will result in competitive fares for customers.

The antitrust immunity granted by the DoT to Air France, Alitalia, CSA and Delta will not affect the existing relations with other SkyTeam members.

The SkyTeam alliance grouping Air France, Aeromexico, Alitalia, CSA, Delta and Korean Air offers quality service with over 8,000 daily flights to 500 destinations worldwide to the 221mn passengers it carries every year.