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Air France and Delta strike transatlantic flights deal

Air France and Delta strike transatlantic flights deal
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In advance of the new Open Skies pact, Air France KLM and Delta airlines have agreed to team up on transatlantic routes.

Open Skies, which will allow European and American airlines to fly any route between any EU and US city, comes into force in April 2008.

The new agreement was signed by Air France KLM chief executive Jean-Cyril Spinetta and his Delta counterpart Richard Anderson.

The venture will generate some one billion euros a year during phase one and more than 5.6 billion euros in phase two.

In yearly results for 2006-2007, Air France KLM recorded 23 billion euros turnover, and carried some 73.5 million passengers. Delta’s turnover was 11.8 billion euros, and the airline carried 16 million passengers.

Under the Air France-Delta venture, there are set to be more than 4,500 seats on offer on transatlantic flights every day, an increase of 45 per cent.

Air France is reported to be planning a new direct route from Heathrow to Los Angeles, and is set to use Heathrow slots to serve nine US destinations.

For decades, access to Heathrow has been limited to two US and two UK airlines. Observers say the new venture at Heathrow will be a major challenge to British Airways.