HANOI, Vietnam, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- During a ceremony held in Hanoi today, Vietnam Airlines officially joined the SkyTeam global airline alliance. SkyTeam is increasing its focus on Asia as a whole, and by welcoming its first member in Southeast Asia, the alliance significantly strengthens its network reach in the region.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100416/CL87496LOGO )

Joining SkyTeam marks an important step toward Vietnam Airlines' future growth. It will bring passengers convenient and seamless service of international standards to a global network covering more than 850 destinations in 169 countries. Vietnam Airlines customers can earn and redeem frequent flyer miles when traveling on flights of all other SkyTeam member airlines. Customers from the other SkyTeam frequent flyer programs can achieve the same when flying Vietnam Airlines.

As part of the joining ceremony, attended by Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, senior government officials and representatives from SkyTeam member airlines, Vietnam Airlines unveiled its first aircraft in SkyTeam livery to commemorate its membership in the alliance. "The joining today reaffirms Vietnam Airlines' position as a major carrier in the Southeast Asian region as well as a strategic partner of SkyTeam," said Dr. Pham Ngoc Minh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines. "Our cooperation will help further develop SkyTeam and its member airlines, generating valuable benefits for our passengers and making greater contributions to the international economic integration of Vietnam."

"We are proud to welcome the first carrier from Southeast Asia in our midst today," said Leo van Wijk, Chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board. "Asia is an important and strategic growth market for SkyTeam and we well are on track to strengthen our network offering in this part of the world. Together with our current members China Southern and Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines brings us closer to becoming the leading alliance for Asia. By adding 20 new destinations to the SkyTeam network, the joining of Vietnam Airlines marks an important step in this direction."

"Apart from adding new destinations to our SkyTeam Round the World Pass, Vietnam Airlines enriches the opportunities of our Asia Pass, enabling customers to travel through Asia on a single ticket in a more economical way," said Marie-Joseph Male, SkyTeam's Managing Director. "Furthermore, Vietnam Airlines will be included in all our global deals we offer our corporate clients. Our newest member will also be part of SkyTeam Global Meetings, our service providing event organizers with helpful planning tools to bring people together from all over the world."

During the last 14 months Vietnam Airlines has worked intensively to fulfill the alliances' membership requirements, ranging from customer service elements such as the recognition of frequent flyer programs, lounge access and priority baggage handling, to establishing codeshare agreements with SkyTeam members. After Vietnam Airlines successfully passed the required audit in May, the SkyTeam Governing Board officially approved the membership.

About Vietnam Airlines

As the national flag carrier of Vietnam, headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam Airlines flies 75 routes to 20 domestic and 26 international destinations with more than 290 daily flights. Operating the young fleet of 70 modern aircrafts mainly including Boeing 777, Airbus A330, A321/320s, the airline expects to further expand its fleet to 115 and 165 aircrafts by 2015 and 2020, respectively. www.vietnamairlines.com.

About SkyTeam

SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam Member airlines offer customers over 415 lounges worldwide. The ten members are: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines. Additionally, SkyTeam has two Associate Airlines: Air Europa and Kenya Airways. SkyTeam offers its 393 million annual passengers a worldwide system of more than 13,000 daily flights to 884 destinations in 169 countries. SkyTeam celebrates its 10th anniversary in June 2010. www.skyteam.com.


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