US-Italy open skies

The US Department of Transportation (D0T) has approved Alitalia's tripartite alliance with KLM and Northwest, paving the way to the signing of a fully fledged open skies bilateral between Italy and the USA. The two countries partially liberalised air traffic last year. Alitalia-Northwest will codeshare on new services between Detroit, Rome and Milan, scheduled for launch in April, as well as services linking Rome with New York and Miami, and Milan with New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

French boost cargo alliances

Delta Air Lines and Air France Cargo could soon be operating joint freighters to Latin America as their alliance strengthens, according to Air France Cargo director general Francois Bachelet. Delta, not normally seen as a strong cargo airline, is keen on the idea, he says. Air France is also in talks with Korean Air Cargo about becoming the Asian part of the alliance, which could include swapping Europe-Asia freighter cargo at Tashkent and KAL flying European freighters to Hahn, Germany, which Air France is trying to build up as an alternative cargo hub to Paris Charles de Gaulle.

American-Qualiflyer FFP links

Following the application in November for North Atlantic anti-trust immunity by Swissair, Sabena and American Airlines, the US carrier, and its regional partners American Eagle and Business Express have began co-operating with Qualiflyer members Swissair, Crossair, Sabena and Turkish Airlines on frequent flier programmes (FFPs). Mileage credits can be earned and burned on transatlantic codeshares and non-Atlantic flights of the European airlines and vice versa.

SAirGroup caters for Italy

SAirGroup's in-flight catering arm has purchased a 49% stake in Ligabue, which operates kitchens in Rome, Milan and Venice, serving 24,000 meals a day.

Virgin targets India

Virgin Atlantic Airways has signed a code-share agreement with Air India to take up the flag carrier's three unused frequencies between London and Delhi from this summer. The ultimate aim for Virgin is to provide daily services from London to both Delhi and Mumbai.

Last Classic roll-out

On 9 December, Boeing rolled out the last Classic B737 - a 737-400 - off its Renton assembly plant, bringing production of the first generation and Classic series to a close after 3,132 aircraft. The total is made up of 30 B737-100, 1,114 B737-200, 1,113 B737-300, 486 B737-400 and 389 B737-500 models. Production will now concentrate on the next-generation series, which includes the B737-600, -700, -800, -900 and Boeing Business Jet. Orders for all 737s now exceed 4,300.

Source: Airline Business