TAROM Romanian Air Transport officially joined the SkyTeam global airline alliance at a ceremony held in Bucharest on June 25, strengthening the alliance's network...

TAROM Romanian Air Transport officially joined the SkyTeam global airline alliance at a ceremony held in Bucharest on June 25, strengthening the alliance’s network reach in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Romanian airline becomes the 13th carrier to join SkyTeam, which marked its 10th anniversary on June 22.

Joining the SkyTeam alliance brings TAROM access to a global network offering 898 destinations in 169 countries, with TAROM passengers able to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles when flying on all services operated by SkyTeam member airlines. Members of other SkyTeam airlines’ frequent flyer programs can also earn and redeem miles when travelling on TAROM-operated flights.

Over the past two years, TAROM has worked intensively to fulfill the alliance’s membership requirements. Preparation work has included customer service elements such as the recognition of frequent flyer programs, lounge access and priority baggage handling, and establishing codeshare agreements with SkyTeam members.

“By joining the SkyTeam Alliance, TAROM opens a new page in its 55 years of history,” says Ruxandra Brutaru, president and CEO of TAROM. “Implementing the joining process was quite challenging, because we had to concentrate, in 2009 – a year defined by the global economic crisis – on regaining our market share and obtaining an increase in passenger numbers of up to 20%. It is indeed a historical event, acknowledging our staff’s professionalism and high quality service.”

Airbus A318 YR-ASA 'Aurel Vlaicu' was the first aircraft painted in TAROM Romanian Air Transport's current color scheme. Source: http://albspotter.eu

“As we continue to expand our network around the globe, Europe remains a key strategic market for our alliance. We are proud to welcome Romania’s national carrier into our alliance today, further underling SkyTeam’s commitment to Central and Eastern Europe. TAROM firmly contributes to this promise, by adding 11 new destinations to the SkyTeam network,” says Leo van Wijk, chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board.

“SkyTeam now comprises seven European airlines, offering a comprehensive network throughout the continent, as well as hundreds of nonstop intercontinental flights to Asia, Africa, North and Latin America each day,” notes Marie-Joseph Malé, managing director of SkyTeam. “A number of SkyTeam carriers already serve TAROM’s hub in Bucharest and SkyTeam corporate customers will benefit from the inclusion of TAROM in all the global deals we offer clients, helping to facilitate trade and commerce between Romania and the rest of the world.”

With a fleet of 26 aircraft, TAROM carries more than 1.7 million passengers annually to over 40 destinations. Its revenues totaled 191.4 million euros in 2009. A member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) since 1993 and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) since 2000, TAROM operates to 45 destinations in summer 2010, covering countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

In 2009, TAROM was named ‘The Most Trusted Brand’ in the airline category by the publication Reader’s Digest Romania and had a load factor over 56 per cent. For 2010, TAROM estimates it will carry more than 2 million passengers and will achieve a load factor of 60 per cent. For more information on TAROM, visit www.tarom.ro.

SkyTeam member airlines offer their premium customers oaccess to more than 415 lounges worldwide. Its 13 members are Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM Romanian Air Transport and Vietnam Airlines. Vietnam Airlines was inducted into the alliance just 15 days before TAROM. SkyTeam offers its 395 million annual passengers a worldwide system of approximately 13,000 daily flights to 898 destinations in 169 countries.