Korean Air Sales and Marketing Manager for Australia Rafael Despradel confirmed the entrance of China Airlines to the SkyTeam alliance in Sep-2011 (Australian Business Traveller, 11-Aug-2011). This brings the number of SkyTeam alliance members operating in Australia to six, after Korean Air, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Vietnam Airlines. Aerolineas Argentinas and Garuda Indonesia will join the alliance in 2012, with this to increase the number of carriers operating in Australia to eight. SkyTeam is also seeking opportunities to establish shared facilities, similar to what is in place at London Heathrow and Prague Airport.
China Airlines to join SkyTeam next month
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Korean Air's dangerously high debt requires it to shore up confidence. Delta investment would help
Korean Air's strategic positioning is precarious as its main Asia-North America segment faces competition from competitors on both sides of the Pacific. The situation is worsened by financials hammered by the bankruptcy of the Korean Air subsidiary Hanjin Shipping.
Yet even before, Korean Air's debt neared 1,000% and available cash covers only a month of revenues. The market does not have confidence in Korean Air's attempt to fix its liquidity position, and the Cho family that established, and still manages, Korean Air faces sticky scandals. As Korea is in political and business upheaval, chaebol conglomerates are no longer sacred.
Delta Air Lines to the rescue? With strategy and financials battered, Korean Air views Delta's long sought partnership more favourably than it did a few years ago when Korean Air was on a high and seemingly did not need its pushy SkyTeam cousin. Delta may be offering to inject equity into Korean Air, and perhaps will not partner without equity involved.
CSA Czech Airlines: restructuring, partnerships, and now growth for SkyTeam's smallest airline
One of the five oldest airlines in the world that are still in operation, CSA Czech Airlines is also the smallest airline in SkyTeam by passenger numbers. After several years of losses the airline returned to profit in 2015 and expects another positive result in 2016, albeit below last year's level. CSA Czech Airlines is growing once more this year, after a restructuring programme involving reductions in its fleet, capacity and headcount it has also developed a profitable contract flying business. Together with lower fuel prices, its restructuring has helped to achieve the airline's turnaround.
CSA Czech Airlines has a predominantly European network. Its only intercontinental route is from Prague to Seoul, the hub of its part-owner – codeshare partner and fellow SkyTeam member, Korean Air. Its biggest destination market is Russia, but this is followed by the Western European countries France, Italy and Germany. It has a relatively low share of seats at its hub in Prague, where LCCs have a significant share and Ryanair has opened a base this winter. However, although CSA faces strong competitors on routes to non-SkyTeam hubs, competition is limited elsewhere by its targeting of niche regional routes and its use of codeshare agreements (including with Travel Service, another part owner).