Aerolineas Argentinas, the flag carrier of Argentina, has signed an agreement to join the SkyTeam alliance in 2012, becoming SkyTeam's first South American member...

Aerolineas Argentinas, the flag carrier of Argentina, has signed an agreement to join the SkyTeam alliance in 2012, becoming SkyTeam’s first South American member and adding 38 new destinations to the SkyTeam network.

A signing ceremony was held on November 29 in Buenos Aires. The SkyTeam Alliance is working to strengthen its presence in Latin America, which the alliance says is a region with strong growth figures and a positive outlook for the future.

SkyTeam also says that Aerolineas Argentinas (including its domestic arm Austral Líneas Aéreas), as the alliance’s first South American member, fits well in SkyTeam’s expansion strategy, enhancing the network in the region by offering multiple new destinations in the southern hemisphere.

Through direct services by Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia and Delta Air Lines to Buenos Aires, SkyTeam already offers Argentinean customers daily access to North America and Europe, with connections to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Aerolineas Argentinas’ extensive domestic and regional network brings 38 new destinations to the SkyTeam network, including Cordoba and Mendoza in Argentina; Asunçion, the capital of Paraguay; and Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. SkyTeam says that, with Buenos Aires serving as a Latin American hub with flights to and from key destinations in the region, the alliance’s customers will benefit from improved access to the southern part of South America and Patagonia in particular.

This graphic shows all the logos of airlines which were members of the SkyTeam Alliance as of November 30, 2010. Other airlines which had committed to join the alliance by that date, but which had not yet been formally inducted as members, included China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia and Aerolineas Argentinas. The Argentinean carrier is scheduled to become a member of SkyTeam in 2012

According to SkyTeam, Aerolineas Argentinas has initiated a long-term plan to expand and revitalize its business. Key elements of this plan include fleet renewal and rationalization, adding key international destinations such as New York and London, increasing the density of the airline’s domestic and regional network and improving Aerolineas Argentinas’ product quality and consistency.

“Aerolineas has started a new chapter under the direction of the Argentine Government and for more than one year we have taken several measures to strengthen our business model.” says Mariano Recalde, president and CEO of Aerolineas Argentinas.

“One of the key elements is to reinstate Aerolineas into the industry standards and improve our customers’ experience. Joining SkyTeam is a major step towards fulfilling our goals and market recognition for our efforts and commitment,” adds Recalde. “As a result, Aerolineas’ passengers will benefit from unprecedented global connectivity through the alliance hubs and networks in Europe, America and Asia, and will also have access to a wide variety of SkyTeam products.”

Marie-Joseph Male, Managing Director of SkyTeam, adds: “As our 10th anniversary year comes to a close, we can look back on an extraordinary period of growth for the alliance. We have seen our member base in Asia grow tremendously with the announcements of China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines, China Airlines and Garuda Indonesia. Welcoming Aerolineas Argentinas is the next significant step in expanding our presence in Latin America. Together with its plans to expand intercontinental services to New York, London and Paris, I am convinced that joining SkyTeam will help Aerolineas Argentinas position itself as a major player in Latin America.”

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