Nicholas Ionides / Singapore

SkyTeam Alliance members Delta Air Lines and Korean Air (KAL) have formally applied for US antitrust immunity to allow them to expand their partnership by co-ordinating schedules and fares.


The carriers filed their application on 13 March, nearly a month after signing a new codeshare agreement that takes effect from May.

If received as expected, it will be the first antitrust approval granted to an Asian and US carrier. Delta has already secured antitrust immunity to co-operate with fellow SkyTeam partners Air France, Alitalia and CSA Czech Airlines.

With antitrust immunity, the two carriers plan to expand their codeshare operations through a co-ordinated approach to schedules, routes and network planning.

Antitrust immunity will be another boost for KAL, which has been working for more than two years to improve its operation after a series of accidents. In 1999 it lost Air France and Delta as codeshare partners, but on 15 February signed new deals with both, which will see Air France codeshare on KAL flights from next month with Delta codeshares following in May.

KAL is predicting a turnaround, with revenue growth expected from the World Cup football tournament this summer and the re-instatement of the codeshare deals. It forecasts 2002 profits of $77 million on revenues of $4.6 billion.

Source: Flight International