EUROPE/CIS: Atlantic alliance for Air France & Delta

Air France and Delta Air Lines Inc. will jointly operate trans-Atlantic flights, sharing nearly US$8 billion in revenue and adding services at Heathrow Airport in London to challenge British Airways and American Airlines. France’s largest carrier and the US number three will combine revenue on 19 daily flights between their main hubs and on Heathrow-US […]


Air France and Delta Air Lines Inc. will jointly operate trans-Atlantic flights, sharing nearly US$8 billion in revenue and adding services at Heathrow Airport in London to challenge British Airways and American Airlines.

France’s largest carrier and the US number three will combine revenue on 19 daily flights between their main hubs and on Heathrow-US services from April, before extending the deal to cover all routes between Europe and North America in 2010.

The SkyTeam alliance leaders are the first carriers to announce their strategy under a new US-European Union treaty. SkyTeam members Northwest Airlines Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. are said to be also planning flights to Heathrow.

OneWorld alliance rival British Airways, which is based at the airport, will begin flights from the United State to cities in continental Europe.

“This is the first move in a chess game that starts March 30 next year, when the ‘open skies’ regime comes into effect,” said Dan Solon, an independent airline analyst in Barcelona, according to a Bloomberg report.

The first phase of cooperation will cover flights between Air France’s hubs at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly and in Lyon and Delta’s in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, and New York-JFK, as well as Heathrow-US services. Combined revenue will amount to $1.5 billion, the carriers said.