(KAL) is finally going to see benefits from its SkyTeam Alliance membership, with a wide-ranging codeshare deal with partners Air France and Delta Air Lines. It is also planning to seek US antitrust immunity for the tie-up with Delta.

KAL says it will sign the agreement on 15 February, reinstating arrangements suspended in 1999 after a series of major accidents.

SkyTeam was created in 2000, and the revival of codesharing with Delta, in particular, has been repeatedly delayed, including last year, after the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded South Korea's safety oversight rating to Category 2. Category 1 status was restored late last year.

The Korean carrier has been aggressively working to improve its operations in recent years, and says Air France and Delta were satisfied with its efforts after carrying out a joint audit in late 2001.

KAL says codesharing is due to resume in April or May, after which it will seek antitrust immunity with Delta from the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

The DOT recently granted approval for antitrust immunity to KAL's fellow SkyTeam partners Air France, Alitalia, Delta and CSA Czech Airlines.

Codesharing with Air France will cover Seoul-Paris services, while the arrangement with Delta will initially cover co-operation on KAL-operated transpacific flights.

It is expected to later be expanded to cover domestic flights in the USA.

Correction: In our 22-28 January issue, we said that the crew of the Air France Concorde which crashed on 25 July 2000 "rotated the aircraft for take-off 15kt (28km/h) before reaching the planned 183kt". This should read: "The crew rotated the aircraft for take-off at 183kt, when the planned rotate speed was 199kt, according to the report."

Source: Flight International