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What's Up with SkyTeam in 2013

March 22, 2013 at 11:37 AM | by | ()

Last week we highlighted what the world of travel can expect from all of the major airline changes occurring around the globe and how that affects the big airline alliances of Oneworld and Star Alliance. Now, it's SkyTeam's turn as we have a look what's in store for the Delta-led airline partnership that has had some big growth in the past few years.

The Indonesian flag carrier, Garuda, is gearing up to be a strong South East Asian presence for the alliance. Although not technically joining until 2014, travelers will see the beginnings of the buddy-up to ease the long-haul travel woes. If this means it's easier to head to the beaches of Bali while accruing frequent flyer miles, then we're all for it.

Driving down speculation street, we can only imagine (not to mention, wait with baited breath) a decision from Virgin Atlantic on whether or not they choose to shack up with the alliance. After Delta purchased 49% of VAA's stock, the cheeky carrier hinted at exploring the option. Since then, they have put it on the back-burner, but we might see some partnering between Delta and Virgin yet.

Now for a really interesting addition to the global partnership, Uzbekistan Airways is seeking government approval to hook up with the 19-strong airline alliance. Once the Tashkent-based airline jumps through the necessary hoops and upgrades their operations and gets the green light from the Uzbek government, a formal invitation will be sent out. You might just need to wait a bit to head to the Central Asian country if SkyTeam miles are on your mind, so maybe not so much for 2013.

We can also see an expanded presence in Europe allowing passengers to earn and burn on more flights with the consolidation of Air France's regional airlines to form Hop!. The little low-cost, short-haul flyer launched this month and will offer more flights and better connections to major international ports for just a few Euros to start.

[Photo: Leo Reynolds/Flickr]

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