Will Vietnam’s SkyTeam Entry Give Greater Access to Australia?

VN 772.jpgVietnam B777-200 taking off from Melbourne

Passengers belonging to a SkyTeam frequent flyer programme (Delta, Air France/KLM, Alitalia, Aeromexico) long bemoaned there were few options for them to get to Australia both for earning and redeeming miles.

The main route from North America was with Korean Air through Seoul, a convoluted journey compared to the hops Star Alliance members could take on United or oneworld members could take on Qantas. From Europe, no simple solution existed for SkyTeam passengers, whereas Star’s numerous Asian carriers (Singapore, Thai) could provide service, as could oneworld’s British Airways and Qantas.

A reprieve for Delta passengers (who undoubtedly comprise the majority of SkyTeam customers in North America) came with the inking of a joint venture with V Australia. But before that, Vietnam Airlines announced it was interested in joining SkyTeam, giving hope to passengers SkyTeam’s blackout in Southeast Asia and Australia would end.

Vietnam’s ascension to SkyTeam, announced yesterday to occur in June, will see the blackout end and enable some travelers to fly to and from Australia. But the biggest gains for SkyTeam with Vietnam Airlines will be around Southeast Asia, where it is desperately playing catch-up.


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