Virgin Atlantic has announced that they will be joining the SkyTeam alliance in 2023. As Virgin Atlantic joins SkyTeam, London Heathrow will become home to two alliance carriers. Mega carrier British Airways is already in OneWorld. Virgin Atlantic will join their other European and North America partners in SkyTeam. A near natural fit.
In today’s airline industry, it’s becoming rarer to see airlines operating outside of alliances. Most major airlines operate in one of three alliances. The three main airline alliances are Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam. As Virgin Atlantic has become ever closer to SkyTeam after the investment by Delta in 2012, joining SkyTeam almost feels natural.
Virgin’s SkyTeam Timeline
Virgin Atlantic plans to join SkyTeam is early 2023. Although no date is set, Virgin Atlantic does plan to be aggressive in their path to joining the alliance. Usually, it takes 12-18 months for an airline to join an alliance. Virgin Atlantic believes they could do it in just 4 months.
In today’s news conference, – Kristin Colvile, CEO, SkyTeam said,
“We were shooting for the end of January. We just don’t want to overcommit at this point. As I mentioned, we have been working together on this for some… Probably the beginning of 2023.”
Four months is extremely aggressive. Yet, It does help that Virgin Atlantic is already partners with Air France, KLM, and Delta. The four airlines already take part in a Joint Venture and coordinate fares over the Atlantic. Both the Air France Group and Delta also own stakes in Virgin Atlantic. In addition, Virgin Atlantic already codeshares with MEA and Aeromexico.
Virgin Atlantic is a natural fit for the SkyTeam Alliance. As airlines coordinate with other members, it makes sense that Virgin Atlantic works with the entire alliance. Opening up more destinations to their own frequent flyer and providing better competition against British Airways across England.
When Virgin Atlantic joins SkyTeam, it will enhance SkyTeam’s offering at both London Heathrow and Manchester Airport. A win-win for both the alliance and the airline. Virgin’s current customer base will also benefit from more opportunities to earn and redeem miles, with access to an extensive global route network. Currently SkyTeam Members operating to the United Kingdome include Delta, Air France, KLM, ITA, Korean, China Eastern, Czech, Kenya, MEA, Vietnam, Tarom, and Saudia. Opening up direct travel opportunity on 9 new airlines and many more via one stop connections.
Also by joining Skyteam, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver and Gold members will receive a raft of Elite and Elite Plus member benefits delivered under the SkyPriority brand. Easing travel and making connections more comfortable. From lounge access across the alliance along with priority luggage to priority boarding and security.
The SkyTeam alliance is the youngest of the three major alliances, but not the smallest. It was founded in June 2000 by Delta Air Lines, Aeromexico, Air France, and Korean Air. The alliance currently has 18 full members. The SkyTeam network operates 10,062+ daily flights to 1,062+ destinations in 170+ countries.
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
I honestly think based on Virgin Atlantic’s presence in England and current partnerships that joining the SkyTeam alliance makes the most sense. What do you make of Virgin Joining Skyteam?