Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) CEO Richard Anderson and Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) Chairman and CEO Bill Ayer today announced an agreement in principle to amend their marketing agreement to make the airlines preferred alliance partners on the West Coast.
The amended agreement will offer important benefits to customers including supporting the launch of new Delta long-haul trans-Pacific and Latin American routes from the West Coast; expanded connecting opportunities to and from Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air hubs and focus cities; and enhanced worldwide frequent flier and lounge reciprocity agreements between Delta and Alaska.
"Alaska Air Group is a perfect alliance partner for Delta, as we pair our expansive international network with Alaska's leading presence across the West Coast to build a platform for international growth from the West," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. "Building on our existing agreement, Delta, Alaska and Horizon will now be able to offer customers more departures and capacity along the West Coast than any U.S. airline with the enhanced ability to feed Delta's growing global route system."
Added Alaska Chairman and CEO Bill Ayer: "Continuing to work with Delta -- the world's largest airline with the broadest global route system of any U.S. carrier -- is a natural fit for Alaska and Horizon. Our customers will benefit from expanded access to Delta's unmatched domestic and international network and from improved frequent flier and lounge agreements that make it easier to fly with Alaska around the world. All three airlines enjoy similar reputations for excellent service and a quality product, making our alliance even more complementary."
By the end of 2009, Delta and Alaska/Horizon plan to launch a series of customer benefits resulting from the enhanced agreement, including:
* Access for Delta Crown Room Club and Northwest WorldClub members to Alaska Board Rooms in Anchorage, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Vancouver, and for Alaska Board Room members to Crown Room Clubs and WorldClubs worldwide; and
* Elite reciprocity privileges for Delta SkyMiles members and Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members including priority boarding, priority check-in and seat assignments, and reciprocal upgrades for customers who have reached Platinum or Gold status in either airline's frequent flier program. Northwest WorldPerks members and Alaska Mileage Plan members who have reached Platinum or Gold status already enjoy reciprocal upgrades when flying on Alaska and Northwest operated flights.
Delta's expanded marketing alliance with Alaska builds on the airlines' existing alliance, launched in 2004, as well as a more than 20-year relationship between Alaska, Horizon and Northwest Airlines. Currently, codesharing by Delta (including Northwest) extends to more than 100 markets served by Alaska (including Horizon) and codesharing by Alaska extends to more than 30 markets served by Delta. The carriers have a long history of cooperation and will work to ensure that new customer benefits are introduced quickly. The majority of new customer benefits resulting from the expanded agreement will be implemented in 2009.
To celebrate Delta and Alaska's expanded partnership, Delta SkyMiles, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan and Northwest WorldPerks members will be offered a bonus miles promotion beginning in December 2008. Additional details and terms and conditions will be announced shortly.
Agreement supports new Delta international service from Los Angeles, Seattle
Delta and Alaska will offer customers connecting opportunities to more than 50 destinations beyond Los Angeles, more than 70 destinations beyond Seattle, more than 30 destinations beyond Portland and nearly 20 destinations beyond San Francisco. This extensive connecting route network will provide new customer feed to support two new and proposed long-haul international routes from the West Coast in 2009:
* Seattle to Beijing, China -- As previously announced, Delta subsidiary Northwest Airlines will introduce nonstop service between Seattle and Beijing, China, effective March 1, 2009. Flights and schedules are currently available for sale to customers for travel on this route via delta.com and nwa.com. Flights will be operated with the Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
* Los Angeles to Sao Paulo, Brazil -- Delta has requested authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate its first nonstop flight between Los Angeles and South America, currently in the final stages of decision. If Delta's application is approved by DOT, service is expected to begin in spring 2009 and would be operated with Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.
These new routes will complement existing long-haul international service from the West Coast offered by Delta, including Northwest-operated flights between Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle and Tokyo; Northwest-operated flights between Seattle and Portland and Amsterdam; KLM-operated fights between Los Angeles and San Francisco and Amsterdam; and Air France-operated flights between Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle and Paris-Charles deGaulle.
About Alaska Air Group
Alaska Airlines and sister carrier Horizon Air together serve more than 90 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Traditional Network Carriers (tie)" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North America Airline Satisfaction Survey (sm). For reservations, visit alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit the Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at alaskaair.com/newsroom.
About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is the world's largest airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita, Delta, its Northwest Airlines subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to more than 376 destinations worldwide in 66 countries and serve more than 170 million passengers each year. Delta's marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta and its 75,000 worldwide employees are reshaping the aviation industry as the only U.S. airline to offer a full global network. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at delta.com.