PARIS, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The Italian major airline, Alitalia, joined the transatlantic joint venture formed by Air France-KLM and U.S. Delta Air Lines to share revenues and costs on their trans-Atlantic routes, a joint statement by these companies said Monday.
With Alitalia's participance, the four-way joint venture concreted its world's largest transatlantic network, "which offers almost 250 flights and approximately 55,000 seats each day, now including 20 daily trans-Atlantic flights to 5 U.S. destinations from Rome and Milan Malpensa airports," the statement said.
In 1997, KLM signed a joint venture agreement with Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta in 2008. Delta and Air France signed a joint venture agreement in 2007 following eight years of cooperation. Then in 2009, both joint ventures were combined into one.
The new trans-Alantic joint venture was expanded to represent approximately 26 percent of total trans-Alantic capacity, with annual revenues estimated at more than 10 billion U.S. dollars.
The leading merger's geographic scope includes all flights between North America and Europe, between Amsterdam and India and between North America and Tahiti.
After this, Alitalia will have its representatives immediately spread into 11 working groups responsible for implementing and managing the agreement in all areas, including sales, revenue management, communication and operations.
"Today marks an important milestone in Alitalia's development plan," said Alitalia's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rocco Sabelli. "We are proud to be partnering with the world's leading airlines in a joint venture which the whole industry looks at as the benchmark."
"The trans-Atlantic joint venture has been strengthened by the arrival of Alitalia, which adds the Italian market, the third biggest in Europe, to the joint venture and also gives it access to the Rome-Fiumicino hub," Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said.
According to the agreement, Alitalia's addition to the joint venture is effective April 1, 2010 as part of a long-term agreement effective until at least March 31, 2022.
Governance of the joint venture will be equally shared between Alitalia, the Air France-KLM Group and Delta.