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With its roots in an innovative 1997 agreement between KLM and Northwest Airlines, the Air France KLM alliance today is the most evolved model for successful international airline cooperation, providing vast benefits for both consumers and the business.



Key Milestones:

  • 29 September 1997: Northwest and KLM make airline history by signing a 10-year Joint Venture (JV) agreement – the first of its kind.
  • 22 March 2007: The EU and US  signed an Open skies agreement
  • 17 October 2007: Air France and Delta Air Lines agree to form a JV for close cooperation beginning 1 April 2008 on all hub-to-hub routes across the Atlantic, including flying to/from London Heathrow.
  • 20 May 2009: The Air France KLM Group and Delta announce a new long-term JV whereby the partners coordinate flights and share revenues and costs of their trans-Atlantic route network. The agreement enables the three member airlines to offer customers more flight options and frequencies on the major trans-Atlantic routes.
  • 5 July 2010: Alitalia joins the Joint Venture.



Structural Overview:

  • The JV represents approximately 25% of the airline industry’s total trans-Atlantic capacity.
  • The geographical scope of the agreement covers routes between Canada, United States, Mexico and Europe, as well as those connecting Amsterdam and India, and North America and Tahiti. 
  • The JV network is structured around seven hubs – Amsterdam-SPL, Atlanta, Detroit-DTW, Minneapolis-MSP, New York-JFK, Paris-CDG and Rome Fiumicino.
  • Under antitrust immunity granted by the U.S. and European governments, the JV partners closely coordinate on destinations served and flight schedules offered by their trans-Atlantic network.



Customers Benefits:

  • More choices, frequencies and convenient schedules on more than 260 daily flights.
  • Convenient access to nearly 300 destinations in North America and close to 220 destinations in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
  • Competitive fares.
  • Harmonised ground and in-flight services.



The Joint Venture Partners:

KLM: 7 October 1919, Dutch Royal Airlines for the Netherlands and its Colonies (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij voor Nederland en Koloniën - KLM) was founded. It is the oldest airline that still operates under the same name.

Air France: 7 October 1933, Following the takeover of the assets of Aéropostale, Air France - regrouping also Air Orient, Air Union, the Société Générale de Transport Aérien and C.I.D.N.A. - was officially inaugurated at Paris-Le Bourget Airport .

Air France-KLM Group: 5 May 2004, Air France and KLM joined forces to build a new entity, the largest European group; AIR FRANCE KLM Group, (one Group, 2 companies, 3 core businesses).

Delta Air Lines: Delta traces its roots back to 1924, when Huff Daland Dusters was founded as the world's first aerial crop dusting organization. In 1928, the company became Delta Air Service.  On June 17, 1929, Delta inaugurated airline service with the first passenger flights over a route stretching from Dallas, Texas to Jackson, Mississippi, via Shreveport and Monroe, Louisiana.

Delta-Northwest Merger: 29 October 2008, Delta and Northwest merged, creating the largest US carrier under the Delta brand.

Alitalia: Alitalia was founded on 16 September 1946. The first flight took place between Torino and Rome. The first international flight took place in 1948, connecting Milano with several South-American cities. In the nineties Alitalia transported nearly 25 million passengers every year.

After the merger with KLM fell through in 2000 Alitalia continued on its own. A take-over by AIR FRANCE KLM fell through, mainly as a result of the demands of the unions.

On 22 August 2008 the consortium Comapagnia Aerea Italiana (CAI) was founded. This consortium bought Alitalia and Air One. Both companies were joined together to form the present Alitalia. On 13 January 2009 flight operations were resumed. AIR FRANCE KLM has a 25 per cent share in the new Alitalia.

Publication date : 9 June 2015