A single co-ordinated transatlantic network has been created with Alitalia joining Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines in a joint venture offering flights between Europe and the US.
The pact of SkyTeam alliance members will allow the airlines to share revenues and costs on their North Atlantic routes.
The four-way joint venture will offer almost 250 flights and approximately 55,000 seats a day.
This includes 20 daily transatlantic flights to five US destinations from Rome and Milan Malpensa airports.
The addition of the Italian carrier means the grouping represents more than a quarter (26%) of total transatlantic capacity, with annual revenues estimated at more than $10 billion.
Rome joins Amsterdam, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York (JFK) and Paris (CDG) as the core hubs, with additional services from Cincinnati, Milan, Memphis and Salt Lake City.
Alitalia will be included in all joint venture initiatives, including joint sales contracts, which were introduced by Delta and Air France-KLM in January 2009.
The airlines will provide code share services between the US and European Union and beyond, where traffic rights allow.
The geographic scope includes all flights between North America and Europe, between Amsterdam and India and between North America and Tahiti.
Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, Air France-KLM’s chief executive, said: “The transatlantic joint venture has been strengthened by the arrival of Alitalia, which adds the Italian market, the third biggest in Europe, to the joint venture and also gives it access to the Rome-Fiumicino hub.
“The Italian airline, a SkyTeam member, is a strategic partner of Air France-KLM with which it already has joint venture agreements on its Italy-France and Italy-Netherlands routes. It is therefore natural that this successful partnership should continue with Alitalia’s participation in the trans-Atlantic JV.”
Rocco Sabelli, Alitalia’s chief executive, said: “Transatlantic traffic is the most strategic and competitive marketplace.
“We are proud to be partnering with the world’s leading airlines in a joint venture which the whole industry looks at as the benchmark.
“Such an achievement highlights the valuable results obtained so far by Alitalia, and further opens-up opportunities for our industrial and commercial growth.”