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Heavenly alliance

Russian airline company “Aeroflot” is about to join International aviation alliance Sky Team.

Such companies as Air France, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, KLM, Delta, and Korean Air will be official partners of the Russian air carrier. The annexation will enable “Aeroflot” to increase its revenues and provide their passengers better services…

Managing director of “Aeroflot-Russian International Airlines” Valery Okulov and a representative of Sky Team, president of the airline company Air France Jean-Cyril Spinetta signed an agreement Monday that marks the official beginning of the entire procedure. “Aeroflot” plans to become official member of the alliance in 2005.

Sky Team was established in 2000. Today it is the world's third aviation alliance. It consists of the following eight companies: Aero Mexico, Air France, Alitalia, Czech Airlines, KLM, and Korean Air. Annually, these airline companies transport 212 million passengers, making 7865 flights to 500 places among 110 countries worldwide.

The possibility of “Aeroflot” joining the alliance has been under discussion for three years. The company received its first offer back in 2001. Back then, “Aeroflot” also began developing business ties with the French company Air France, the number one company in the alliance. In 2002, the two companies signed an agreement “code-sharing”. Starting mid July 2004, certain corrections will be introduced to the initial agreement. It is planned that both companies will conduct joint flights between Nice and Moscow on “Aeroflot” aircrafts.

“Aeroflot” board of directors approved the annexation in March. However, the company had to receive government's consent; after all 52% of “Aeroflot” shares are government-owned.

During the ceremony of agreement signing, managing director of “Aeroflot” Valery Okulov stated that the new alliance will open up new horizons for the company. “The future of air transportation lies in this alliance,” declared Okulov.

“Aeroflot's” new venture will definitely be beneficial. Russian passengers can travel around the world using “Aeroflot” and any other airline company of the alliance. The overall quality of services will be significantly improved. Other advantages await our passengers in future. Some improvements will include “Frequent flyer” programs as well as VIP lounges.

“Aeroflot” will also be able to consolidate its position on the world market of air transportation. The company's dividends are also expected to grow. According to Russian newspaper “Vedomosti”, the company could earn up to $20 million USD of extra income annually.

Anna Bazhina

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