Aerolineas Argentinas, the flag carrier of Argentina, will sign an agreement by the end of October to begin the process of joining SkyTeam as...

Aerolineas Argentinas, the flag carrier of Argentina, will sign an agreement by the end of October to begin the process of joining SkyTeam as the first South American member of the airline alliance.

SkyTeam says it is actively working to strengthen its presence in Latin America, a region which is enjoying strong economic and population growth. The alliance also says that Aerolineas Argentinas, which is expected to join SkyTeam in 2012, fits perfectly in SkyTeam’s growth strategy as an airline with a long-term plan to expand and revitalize its business.

Aerolineas Argentinas, which becomes a member of the Skyteam alliance in 2012, has adopted a new livery which replaces the carrier's former dark blue colors with a lighter blue. The livery also retains the airline's traditional condor logo within a yellow sun motif (towards the rear of the fuselages of it aircraft) and features a silver line which symbolizes the airline's target to achieve excellence

Through a five-year restructuring plan introduced last year, Aerolineas Argentinas is implementing a number of measures to strengthen its business model and establish itself as a major player in Latin America, according to SkyTeam. Key elements of this plan include fleet renewal and rationalization, adding key international destinations, increasing the density of its domestic and regional network and improving product quality and consistency.

SkyTeam has made significant progress in signing up new members in its 10th anniversary year. In June the alliance welcomed Vietnam Airlines and TAROM as new members. In addition, SkyTeam announced that China Eastern and China Airlines would join SkyTeam in 2011, cementing the alliance’s No. 1 position in the Greater China region.

Aerolineas Argentinas' domestic arm Austral is replacing all the older aircraft in its fleet with 20 new Embraer 190s. The carrier, which is based at Buenos Aires' near-downtown Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, has been operating a fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-83s, MD-88s and a single MD-81

The alliance says it is actively looking to extend its global network further by looking for additional members from regions such as Southeast Asia, India and Latin America.

SkyTeam member airlines offer customers more than 420 airport lounges worldwide. Its 13 members are Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines.

The alliance carries 385 million passengers annually on a worldwide network of more than 12,500 daily flights to 898 destinations in 169 countries. SkyTeam celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2010. For more information, visit