SkyTeam CEO Michael Wisbrun says the coming year is not about adding new airlines to the alliance but rather boosting co-operation among its current roster and improving the "customer experience" of passengers.
With 20 member airlines in key markets around the world, Wisbrun says of SkyTeam "we are relevant in the US, relevant in Europe and relevant in Asia, especially in greater China."
"So at this moment it makes more sense not to go for scale but for scope and customer experience within the network, to get the basics right" he told Australian Business Traveller.
"Our focus is now on our customers, and especially the 26 million customers transferring each year from one SkyTeam member airline to another."
Speaking at the opening of SkyTeam's new Sydney Airport lounge – the alliance's first in Australia, and only its third in the world after London and Istanbul – Wisbrun spoke of the desire to encourage "seamless transfers" through growing airport hubs in China.
And while SkyTeam counts seven member airlines flying in Australian skies – among them China Southern, Taiwan’s China Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia and Korean Air – Wisbrun shows no interest in signing up Virgin Australia
“It is not realistic to assume there will be a SkyTeam member here in Australia" he admits, adding that Virgin's own trans-Pacific alliance with Delta plus alliances between Qantas and China Eastern and China Southern are a more flexible arrangement.
Wisbrun also says that China Southern is considering flying the Boeing 787 to Perth this year, while China's XiamenAir is looking to begin Dreamliner flights to Sydney as its first Australian route.
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