SkyTeam plans to partner with non-member airlines at key gateway airports served by alliance carriers to make passenger transfers easier, and aims to kick off the initiative in the coming months with an experiment at Vancouver International airport.

Involving at least five SkyTeam carriers and Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet, this trial will involve the creation of a common simple interface for use by passengers travelling through Vancouver on SkyTeam and WestJet flights, says SkyTeam managing director Michael Wisbrun.

The trial is likely to begin after the summer and the parties involved are now in talks to work out the details and IT elements, he adds. Wisbrun envisions more of such partnerships with "hybrid low-cost carriers" that are not SkyTeam members.

Several SkyTeam carriers serve Vancouver: China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Korean Air, KLM and Delta Air Lines. WestJet already codeshares with KLM, Delta, China Eastern and Korean Air.

Besides Vancouver, other airports that could be part of this initiative are Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. SkyTeam does not have a member in Brazil, but SkyTeam member Delta has invested in Brazilian low-cost carrier Gol, which would make it logical for SkyTeam to target the Brazilian airports, says Wisbrun.

Source: Flight Daily News