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Trans-Atlantic Joint Venture

Updated October 2011

With its roots in an innovative 1997 agreement between KLM and Northwest Airlines and the 2007 JV between Delta and Air France, the Delta, Air France-KLM, Alitalia Joint Venture today is the most evolved model for successful international airline cooperation, providing vast benefits for both consumers and the business.

Key Milestones


Sept. 29, 1997: Northwest and KLM make airline history by signing a 10-year Joint Venture (JV) agreement – the first of its kind.
March 22, 2007: The EU and US signed an Open skies agreement
Oct. 17, 2007: Air France and Delta Air Lines form a JV for close cooperation beginning 1 April 2008 on all hub-to-hub routes across the Atlantic, including flying to/from London Heathrow.
May 20, 2009: The Air France KLM Group and Delta announce a new long-term JV whereby the joint venture partners coordinate flights and share revenues and costs of their trans-Atlantic route network. The agreement enables the three member airlines to offer customers more flight options and frequencies on the major trans-Atlantic routes.
2009: Key synergies are achieved through co-location of commercial and operating teams and airport facilities, unified signage in more than 400 airports and combined marketing and advertising, along with joint sales contracts, general sales representation and network announcements.
July 5, 2010: The Air France KLM Group, Alitalia and Delta add Alitalia to the Delta, Air France KLM joint venture whereby the joint venture partners coordinate flights and share revenues and costs of their trans-Atlantic route network. The addition of Alitalia expands the agreement signed on 20 May 2009. The expanded joint venture agreement enables the four member airlines to offer customers more flight options and frequencies on the major trans-Atlantic routes.

Structural Overview


The JV represents 26 percent of the airline industry’s total trans-Atlantic capacity.
The geographical scope of the agreement covers routes between Canada, United States, Mexico and Europe, as well as those connecting Amsterdam and India, and North America and Tahiti.
The JV network is structured around seven hubs – Amsterdam, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York-JFK, Rome Fiumicino and Paris-CDG.
Under antitrust immunity granted by the U.S. and European governments, the JV partners closely coordinate on destinations served and flight schedules offered by their trans-Atlantic network.
The JV generates approximately US$10 billion in annual revenues.
The JV is a long-term business arrangement effective until at least March 31, 2022.
An executive committee comprised of the four Air France-KLM Group, Alitalia and Delta CEOs defines strategy for the JV. Twelve working groups are responsible for implementing and managing the agreement in the sectors of network, revenue management, sales, product, frequent flyer, advertising/brand, cargo, operations, IT, communications, e-Commerce and finance.

Customer Benefits


More choices, frequencies and convenient schedules on nearly 250 daily flights operated by 144 aircraft
Convenient access to nearly 300 destinations in North America and close to 200 destinations in Europe, Asia and Latin America
Competitive fares
Harmonized ground and in-flight services
The opportunity to earn miles with the Flying Blue, MilleMiglia and SkyMiles frequent flyer programs
Access the largest lounge network across the Atlantic
Dedicated reservation centers in Europe and North America

About the Joint Venture

With over 250 daily trans-Atlantic flights and a fleet of 144 aircraft, the joint venture between AIR FRANCE-KLM, Alitalia and Delta Air Lines provides customers with the benefits of a vast route network offering more frequencies, competitive fares and harmonized services on all trans-Atlantic flights. The JV network is structured around seven main hubs: Amsterdam, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York-JFK, Paris-CDG and Rome Fiumicino, together with Cincinnati, Lyon, Milan, Memphis and Salt Lake City. The JV offers customers access to 300 destinations beyond the 27 North American gateways and 200 destinations beyond the 31 European gateways throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. The JV represents 26 percent of total trans-Atlantic capacity and generates $11 billion in expected annual revenues. Under the terms of this agreement, the partners jointly operate their trans-Atlantic routes, thereby sharing revenues and costs. For more information on Air France-KLM, Alitalia or Delta go to the respective corporate websites.

History of the Four Joint Venture Partners

KLM: Oct. 7, 1919, Dutch Royal Airlines for the Netherlands and its Colonies (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij voor Nederland en Koloniën - KLM) was founded.

Delta Air Lines: Delta traces its roots back to 1924, when Huff Daland Dusters was founded as the world's first aerial crop dusting organization. In 1928, the company became Delta Air Service. On June 17, 1929, Delta inaugurated airline service with the first passenger flights over a route stretching from Dallas, TX to Jackson, MS, via Shreveport and Monroe, LA.

Air France: Oct. 7, 1933, Following the takeover of the assets of Aéropostale, Air France regrouping also Air Orient, Air Union, the Société Générale de Transport Aérien and C.I.D.N.A. was officially inaugurated at Paris-Le Bourget Airport.

Alitalia: Eleven years after its founding on Sept. 16, 1946 in Rome, Alitalia-Aerolinee Internazionali Italiane changes its name to Alitalia-Linee Aeree Italiane. On May 5, 1947, a Fiat G-12 Alcionetook off from Turin on a flight to Catania via Rome, marking the start of Alitalia’s activities. Two months later a flight from Rome to Oslo marked the company’s first international flight. In January 2009, Alitalia - Compagnia Aerea Italiana started operations, following the acquisition of assets from Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane, and of Air One.

Air France-KLM Group: May 5,2004, Air France and KLM joined forces to build a new entity, the largest European group; Air France-KLM Group, (one Group, 2 companies, 3 core businesses).

Delta-Northwest Merger: October 29, 2008, Delta and Northwest merged, creating the largest U.S. carrier under the Delta brand.


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