Airlines of SkyTeam: The Present, Past, and Future Members of the Alliance

SkyTeam was launched on June 22, 2000, and is headquartered in Amsterdam. Since then, the size of the alliance has grown from just four founding members to a total of 19 member airlines.

Those airlines operate transport more than half a billion passengers each year between more than a thousand destinations in more than 175 countries. They do so using a combined fleet of more than 3,500 aircraft.

This article takes a brief look at all of SkyTeam’s member airlines, as well as at the alliance’s future and past members.

SkyTeam Alliance Member Airlines
A Korean Air Boeing 777 wearing the SkyTeam Alliance livery.

 

SkyTeam Member Airlines

As mentioned in the introduction, SkyTeam currently has 19 member airlines.

Through the alliance, these airlines work together in a variety of ways including offering frequent flyer perks to members of their alliance partners’ loyalty programs.

 

Aeroflot

Aeroflot
Currently, Boeing 777-300ER is the flagship type in Aeroflot’s fleet.

The Russian flag carrier, Aeroflot, joined SkyTeam on April 14, 2006. With that, the alliance’s network gained access to the airline’s well-developed network of domestic flights in Russia among other things.

Since the airline was founded in 1923, its network has grown to include about 150 destinations in about 50 countries. Most of that network connects Aeroflot’s hub at Moscow Sheremetyevo airport with other cities in Russia and around the world.

To transport its 30+ million passengers every year, it operates a fleet of about 250 aircraft. Its frequent flyer program is Aeroflot Bonus.

 

Aerolineas Argentinas

Aerolineas Argentinas
An Aerolineas Argentinas A330 banking after take-off from New York JFK.

Aerolineas Argentinas commenced operations in 1950 and since then has grown into an airline connecting almost 40 cities in Argentina with each other. It also connects Argentina – mainly Buenos Aires – with the rest of the world, as well as the country with the rest of the world.

It operates a fleet of more than 50 aircraft and transports a bit less than 15 million passengers annually.

The airline joined SkyTeam on August 29, 2012, and its frequent flyer program is Aerolineas Plus.

 

AeroMexico

AeroMexico
An AeroMexico Boeing 787 departing Tokyo Narita airport.

The largest Mexican airline, AeroMexico, is one of SkyTeam’s founding members.

Together with its subsidiaries Aeromexico Connect and Aeromexico Contigo, it operates over 130 planes and transports over 20 million passengers a year.

AeroMexico mainly connects Mexico City with other cities in the country, as well as with other American cities. It also flies to a few destinations in Europe and Asia.

Its frequent flyer program is Club Premier.

 

Air Europa

Air Europa is the third largest Spanish airline after Iberia and Vueling. Its main hub is at Madrid Barajas airport, but it also has a significant presence at Palma de Mallorca airport.

Using a fleet of more than 40 aircraft, it connects Spanish cities with each other, as well as with the rest of Europe, America, and North Africa. It transports about 10 million passengers annually.

The airline was founded in 1986 and joined SkyTeam on September 4, 2007. Its frequent flyer program is Air Europa SUMA.

 

Air France

Air France
An Air France Airbus A380 arriving at Narita airport from Paris.

Air France barely needs any introduction. It was founded on October 7, 1933, and is one of SkyTeam’s founding members.

It’s main hubs are Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports. From there, it operates a very extensive network of flights to about 200 destinations both within Europe as well as in America, Asia, and Africa.

In 2004, it joined forces with KLM to form the Air France-KLM group which is the largest airline in the world in terms of revenues and the third-largest in terms of passenger kilometers.

Air France uses Flying Blue as its frequent flyer program.

 

Alitalia

Alitalia
An Alitalia Airbus A330 after landing at Seoul Incheon airport.

Having first joined SkyTeam on July 27, 2001, Alitalia is one of the earlier members of the alliance. Technically, however, it only joined on January 13, 2009, when the corporate entity that makes up the airline today entered into business.

The airline operates about 100 aircraft on both domestic flights within Italy as well as on flights from Italy to the rest of the world. While in the past, it used to have significant operations out of Milan Malpensa airport, its main hub today is Rome Fiumicino.

It transports about 20 million passengers a year to about 100 destinations. And, its frequent flyer program is MilleMiglia.

 

China Airlines

China Airlines
A China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER taxiing at Sapporo airport.

China Airlines is the national airline of Taiwan. It’s based at Taipei Taoyuan airport out of which it operates flights within Asia as well as to the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

It also operates flights out of Taipei Songshan to Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul. Its partner, Mandarin Airlines, operates flights to China as well as within Taiwan out of the airport as well.

With a fleet of about 85 aircraft, China Airlines transports about 15 million passengers a year.

The airline joined SkyTeam on September 28, 2011, and its frequent flyer program is Dynasty Flyer.

 

China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines
A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 departing Shizuoka airport.

China Eastern is one of the multiple major airlines in China. Transporting abotu 100 million passengers a year with a fleet of more than 500 aircraft, it’s the second largest one in the country after Air China.

It joined SkyTeam on June 21, 2011, as the alliance’s first Chinese airline. Besides offering an extensive network of domestic flights, it also connects China – mainly Shanghai and Beijing – with other Asian cities and destinations in Europe, America, and Oceania.

Its frequent flyer program is Eastern Miles.

 

Czech Airlines

Czech Airlines
Czech Airlines operates flights between Prague and Seoul using A330 aircraft.

Czech Airlines is the flag carrier of Czech Republic. It’s based at Prague’s Vaclav Havel airport and operates flights to about 30 destinations in Europe, as well as to Lebanon and South Korea.

Having been founded in 1923, it is the fifth oldest airline in the world out of those that still exist. Czech Airlines was also the first airline to operate the world’s first jet-only route, connecting Prague with Moscow using a Tupolev Tu-104.

Nowadays, the airline is owned by Smart Wings, another Czech Airline, and it transports about 2.5 million passengers a year using fifteen or so planes.

Czech Airlines joined SkyTeam on March 25, 2001, and its frequent flyer program is OK Plus.

 

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines
A Delta Air Lines Boeing 777 departing Tokyo Haneda airport.

Considered by many to be the best of the three major US airlines, Delta Air Lines transports more than 180 million passengers every year.

Using more than 900 planes, it operates an extensive domestic as well as international network. It’s based in Atlanta out of where a large portion of it long-haul flights departs.

It also has extensive operations out of New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis among other places. And, in total it connects about 325 destinations.

As a founding member, Delta Air Lines has been with SkyTeam since June 22, 2000. Its frequent flyer program is SkyMiles.

 

Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia
Garuda Indonesia operates international flights out of both Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali).

Garuda Indonesia joined SkyTeam on March 5, 2014, expanding the alliance’s presence in Southeast Asia.

Using a fleet of about 150 aircraft, it connects almost 100 destinations. Besides an extensive network of flights within Indonesia and Asia overall, it also operates flights to Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The airline transports about 25 million passengers a year, and its frequent flyer program is Garuda Miles.

 

Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways
A Kenya Airways Boeing 777 at London Heathrow airport.

Joining SkyTeam on September 4, 2007, Keyna Airways became the alliance’s first – and so far only – member from Africa.

Being one of the largest airlines on the continent, Kenya Airways transports about 4 million passengers a year using about 40 aircraft.

Besides operating domestic flights within Kenya and flights to other African countries, it also connects the country with destinations in Europe, Asia, and the United States. It’s based at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi and operates scheduled flights to more than 50 destinations.

Just like some other airlines in SkyTeam including Air France and KLM, it uses Flying Blue as its frequent flyer program.

 

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KLM is one of the few remaining operators of passenger 747s.

KLM was founded in 1919 as KLM which makes it the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. Today, it operates a fleet of more than 100 aircraft to about 150 destinations around the world.

It connects its home, Amsterdam Schiphol airport, with destinations in Europe, America, Asia, and Africa.

In 2004, it merged with Air France-KLM. And, on September 13 of the same year, it became a SkyTeam member. KLM uses, just like Air France, Flying Blue as its frequent flyer program.

 

Korean Air

Korean Air
A Korean Air Boeing 737 departing Sapporo.

Being the last of the four founding members in this list, Korean Air has been with Sky Team since June 22, 2000. The airline itself was founded in 1962. It’s the largest airline in South Korea in terms of fleet size as well as international operations.

The airline serves more than 120 destinations in almost 50 countries. Besides an extensive network of flights to other Asian countries as well as destinations around the world, it also operates domestic flights to about a dozen airports.

Using about 170 planes, the airline transports slightly more than 25 million passengers each year. Its frequent flyer program is SkyPass.

 

MEA Middle East Airlines

Middle East Airlines
A Middle East Airlines Airbus A320 approaching Frankfurt airport.

Middle East Airlines is the flag carrier of Lebanon and its based at Beirut airport. It commenced operations in 1946 and joined SkyTeam on June 28, 2012.

Using a fleet of Airbus A320 series and A330 aircraft, it connects Beirut with about thirty destinations in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Some of its destinations include Frankfurt, Paris, Cairo, Riyadh, and Baghdad.

The airline transports about 3 million passengers annually and its frequent flyer program is called Cedar Miles.

 

Saudia

Saudia
A Saudia Airbus A330 approaching Istanbul Ataturk airport.

Saudia, or Saudi Arabian Airlines, is the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia. While it is based in Jeddah, it also has extensive operations out of Riyadh and Damman. The airline was founded in September 1945 and joined SkyTeam on May 29, 2012.

It operates a fleet of more than 150 aircraft – including Boeing 777s and 787s – on flights to almost a hundred destinations. It transports about 30 million passengers every year.

Saudia operates an extensive domestic network, as well as flights connecting Saudi Arabia with the United States and Canada, Europe, and Asia. It, of course, also offers a lot of flights within the Middle East.

Saudia’s as well as other SkyTeam airlines’ passengers can earn miles with its frequent flyer program Alfursan.

 

TAROM

TAROM
A TAROM Airbus A318 touching down at Vienna airport.

TAROM, standing for “Transporturi Aeriene Romane,” is the flag carrier of Romania. Its based at Bucharest Henri Coanda airport and operates a fleet of about 25 aircraft.

In the past, it used to operate Airbus A310s on long-haul flights to the United States and China. However, it retired those and currently only operates narrow-body aircraft on short- and medium-haul flights.

It transports about 2.5 million passengers a year, mainly on flights to other European destinations. It uses Flying Blue as its frequent flyer program.

Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam Airlines
A Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787 waiting for its next flight in Hanoi.

Vietnam Airlines was founded in 1956 as Vietnam Civil Aviation. Since then, it has grown into an airline with a fleet of almost a hundred planes serving about fifty destinations in Vietnam and around the world.

While its main hub are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it also offers a significant amount of flights out of Da Nang. Most of its flights are within Asia. However, it also connects Vietnam with Dubai and a number of European and Australian cities including Frankfurt, London, and Sydney.

It transports about 25 million passengers a year and its frequent flyer program is Lotusmiles.

 

Xiamen Air

Xiamen Air
A Xiamen Air Boeing 787 taxiing after arriving in Beijing.

Having joined SkyTeam on November 21, 2012, Xiamen Air is the second newest member of the alliance. The airline itself was founded in 1984 and currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of almost 170 aircraft.

Its based at Xiamen Gaoxi airport and also has extensive operations out of Fuzhou and Hangzhou. Besides operating domestic flights to dozens of cities, it also connects China – mainly Fujian province – with the rest of the world.

While Xiamen Air mainly operates flights within Asia, it also offers flights to Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and the United States.

It transports about 27 million passengers a year and its frequent flyer program is Egret Miles.

 

Future SkyTeam Members

Currently, Garuda Indonesia – which joined on March 5, 2014 – is the newest member of the SkyTeam alliance, and there are no airlines in the process of joining the alliance at this point.

 

Past SkyTeam Members

Not counting the “old” Alitalia, there are three airlines that used to be members of SkyTeam but are not anymore. Two of those airlines were merged into other airlines and thus don’t exist anymore while one quit SkyTeam “strategically.”

The two in the former category are Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines.

Continental Airlines used to be a member of SkyTeam from September 13, 2004, until October 24, 2009. It left the alliance after it was merged with United, a founding member of Star Alliance. Northwest Airlines, on the other hand, merged with Delta Air Lines, and so is – in a way – still a part of SkyTeam.

Northwest Airlines
Before merging with Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines was a SkyTeam member.

The airline in the latter category is China Southern.

China Southern joined SkyTeam on November 15, 2007, however, after more than a decade, it decided to leave the alliance at the end of 2018. Currently, it is not a member of any alliance.

China Southern Airlines
A China Southern Boeing 777 wearing the SkyTeam livery.

 

Summary

SkyTeam is the second largest airline alliance in the world after Star Alliance.

Boasting some of the largest airlines in the world among its members, it offers passengers great connectivity between many different destinations. Especially so out of Europe, the United States, and China.

At the same time, though, SkyTeam also includes smaller airlines from places like Romania and Czech Republic, and arguably has the most interesting mix of airlines from all the alliances in that regard.

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