Italian startup airline ITA has joined the SkyTeam alliance. The airline will fill the gap left by Alitalia after it ceased operations earlier this month. The change means that SkyTeam customers will continue to avail of seamless connections across Italy.
ITA has joined the SkyTeam alliance. Photo: SkyTeam
The road to joining an airline alliance can be a long and arduous one. Airlines may need to be formally invited to join the alliance, while usually only well-established airlines are considered. Even after being accepted, it can take months to years before the membership becomes official. However, the rewards are often worth the effort, given an airline’s status from being an alliance member.
ITA joins SkyTeam
Instead of the usual hurdles to be cleared by an airline, ITA seems to have been fast-tracked into the SkyTeam alliance. The alliance today revealed that it had welcomed its latest member. ITA will fill the gap left by its predecessor Alitalia, after leaving the alliance when it ceased operations on October 14th.
Commenting on the new member, Walter Cho, SkyTeam’s Chairman said,
“For more than 20 years, the Italian market has been a cornerstone of SkyTeam’s European network and no other airline alliance connects Italy better to the world. We warmly welcome ITA Airways’ decision to join our alliance and ensure continuity of service for the millions of customers who choose SkyTeam as their preferred alliance to Italy.”
ITA will take Alitalia’s place in the alliance. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying
Typically frequent flyers of alliance members can access reciprocal benefits when flying with another member airline. SkyTeam confirmed that it is working with ITA Airways to agree on this.
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Interestingly, SkyTeam also revealed that it is still working with Alitalia’s former loyalty program. The airline alliance said that members of Alitalia Loyalty would be able to continue accessing the program when flying with other carriers. ITA is currently offering a loyalty match scheme which also includes members of the Alitalia mileage scheme.
SkyTeam is the youngest of the three major alliances, being founded in June 2000. As of today, the alliance has 19 members, including ITA. The alliance’s founding members were Delta Air Lines, Aeromexico, Air France, and Korean Air. The last airline to join the alliance before ITA was Garuda Indonesia in March 2014.
With the return of ITA, SkyTeam has 11 members once more. Photo: Getty Images
Only four airlines have left the alliance to date. Northwest Airlines combined with founding member Delta Air Lines. As a result, it didn’t need to remain a standalone airline. Continental Airlines left the alliance to merge with United Airlines of the rival Star Alliance. China Southern Airlines left the airline alliance in 2018. Finally, Alitalia left in mid-October. It had joined the alliance in July 2001.
Are you excited to see ITA replace Alitalia in the SkyTeam alliance? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!
Article Source simpleflying.com