Air France-KLM debuts SkyTeam’s priority processing initiative in Europe

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Air France-KLM has launched the European roll-out of SkyTeam's SkyPriority programme, which is designed to homogenise the alliance's airport processing of premium passengers across its members' networks.

Initiated by Delta Air Lines in Atlanta on 1 March, the programme integrates the alliance member airlines' individual premium-passenger statuses across the SkyTeam hubs and gateways to provide more consistent handling under the "SkyPriority" branding.

The service is available to first- and business-class passengers travelling with SkyTeam's 15 airlines, those with high-tier status in the airlines' loyalty schemes and those that have SkyTeam "Elite Plus" status. Services offered include priority check-in areas, bag drop and boarding.

"SkyPriority will ensure a common and consistent standard for priority airport services across the SkyTeam airports and members," says KLM managing director Erik Varwijk. "It has a benefit on the revenue side because it allows us to offer loyal passengers an improved experience and it also brings simplicity on the cost side by enabling us to align the handling process across the airlines."

Air France and KLM introduced the programme today at their hubs in Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol, respectively, and is due to be fully implemented across the group's 235 airports during the course of the year.

The alliance's managing director Michael Wisbrun says the programme represents an investment of €10-15 million ($13-20 million) and will be in place at over 1,000 points in the SkyTeam network by next year.

"When your network is relevant, you want to push services and products into the customer experience so you will get the repetitiveness of choice," said Wisbrun, speaking at the launch in Schiphol. "This is a first and modest step, but I think it's huge in terms of the effort within the membership."

Wisbrun says that SkyPriority is "only the start" and that more programmes are in SkyTeam's pipeline, which will be rolled out over the coming years.

The next programme is dubbed "SkyTransfer", which is designed to improve and simplify the experience for passengers connecting between members throughout its network. "We are serious about connectivity, and this is a project to organise seamless transfers at hubs," said Wisbrun. "It is our aim to roll SkyTransfer out in 2013."