LONDON , Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — As part of its previously announced plan to increase its presence at London Heathrow International Airport (LHR), SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, unveiled plans today for its new co-located facility in Terminal 4. The alliance is working closely with BAA, the airport company, to develop a customer-focused facility that gives passengers a superior travel experience and helps member airlines grow their businesses.
BAA is coordinating a broad airport relocation project that involves an approximately $194.3 million expansion and renovation of Terminal 4. In conjunction with this effort, SkyTeam is investing in building an alliance co-location facility for all members operating out of Heathrow. The SkyTeam facility will be completed in spring 2009. SkyTeam will offer a common check-in area and other standard features alliance passengers have come to expect. Additionally, alliance customers travelling through Heathrow will have access to several service enhancements, including:
"Co-locating our member operations at London Heathrow will allow SkyTeam to offer our customers worldwide a superior travel experience in one of the most contested markets in the world," said Giorgio Callegari, chairman of SkyTeam Airport and Infrastructure Special Projects. "SkyTeam continuously strives to provide our customers with a hassle-free journey before, during, between and after their flights. In order to maximize this customer offering at Heathrow, we are working together as an alliance and with BAA to make the necessary renovation and branding investments in Terminal 4, where we will be the anchor airline alliance."
Heathrow will be the first airport in which all co-located SkyTeam members will share kiosks, allowing alliance passengers to access travel reservations with any of the ten carriers. The greater number and common-use feature of the kiosks will help improve passenger flow through the terminal, reduce congestion and reduce operating costs for member airlines.
Passengers transferring at Heathrow can take advantage of several non-stop service options, including long-haul destinations such as Nairobi and Seoul ; European destinations including Amsterdam , Milan , Moscow , Paris , Prague , Rome and Rotterdam ; and US destinations such as Houston , New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles . The addition of SkyTeam's three US carriers and the co-location of all alliance members to one terminal will allow SkyTeam to increase its service out of Heathrow to nearly 50 daily flights.
" London Heathrow will play a key role in the SkyTeam global network for connecting and point-to-point traffic," said Mr. Callegari . "It will augment our already superior transatlantic hub system, which includes Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) and Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport (AMS), as well as Houston , New York-JFK, New York Newark and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. The development of SkyTeam's profile at Heathrow is a long-term priority for the alliance, supporting our ongoing focus on providing seamless connections for our customers."
Although the first-stage open skies agreement takes effect this spring, SkyTeam began taking steps for a shared terminal at Heathrow almost two years ago, when nine members signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BAA in 2006 to co-locate their facilities. Since then, SkyTeam members and BAA have jointly determined the optimal design of Terminal 4 to ensure that passengers enjoy a travel experience of the highest quality. The planned renovations will result in better traffic flow for passengers making their way to their departure gates due to an extended and refurbished departure concourse.
As previously announced, SkyTeam's move to Terminal 4 will take effect over the next 12 months. In phase one, at the end of March 2008 , the US carriers (Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines) will join KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Kenya Airways, who already operate out of Terminal 4. In the spring of 2009, the remaining SkyTeam carriers operating out of Heathrow (Aeroflot, Air France , Alitalia, CSA and Korean Air) will relocate. BAA anticipates approximately 10 million passengers will be served out of Terminal 4 once all airline moves are complete and the ten SkyTeam alliance carriers are operating out of the co-location.