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20-strong SkyTeam hails new Sydney Airport lounge

October 9, 2014 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Airline alliance SkyTeam is set to open its luxurious new Sydney Airport lounge – its first in Australia and third in the world – this December.

After a few delays the new facility, which promises to be something really special, is now just a couple of months away.

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Jarrod Ritchie (Vietnam Airlines), Ugi Kazokos (Travel Managers), Stefan Schulzky (Flight Centre Travel Group), Bianca Schembri (Infinity Holidays), Trent Carter (Vietnam Airlines), Burt Niu (Vietnam Airlines).

At a function at Sydney’s Park Hyatt hotel on Tuesday evening, SkyTeam’s Amsterdam-based manager commercial development, Edward Hollo, reminded travel industry guests that the date happened to be the 95th anniversary of the founding of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a major SkyTeam member.

SkyTeam is rather younger than KLM, having been founded in 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines, and Korean Air.

The alliance, now 20-strong, is no longer seeking new members.

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SkyTeam manager commercial development, Edward Hollo

“In terms of network we are happy,” Hollo said. “Our focus is no longer on looking for new members. We feel we have a good network – 20 world-class carriers to get you where you need to go.” SkyTeam, headquartered in Amsterdam, serves a total of 1052 destinations in 177 countries.

China Southern’s corporate affairs manager Bill Bryant said SkyTeam now had seven online carriers in Australia, 42 daily flights into and out of Australia and four cities served. First and business class passengers and SkyTeam Elite Plus members flying on any of those seven carriers will have access to the new Sydney SkyTeam lounge on their day of travel.

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L-R SkyTeam Manager Commercial Development Edward Hollo, AeroMexico’s Mary Thapa, China Southern’s Bill Bryant, Air France KLM’s Ditas Oesch and Jean-Marc Lestavel

Describing the new Sydney lounge, Hollo said it would be in Terminal 1, pier B, next to gate 24 and would have seating capacity for over 150 travellers. It would “feature some of the highlights of what we like to think are some of SkyTeam lounges’ top selling points, like our vertical garden wall, with living plants”. The wall is a feature of SkyTeam’s lounge at London Heathrow. The Heathrow lounge opened in 2009 and SkyTeam opened another lounge in Istanbul last year.

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Lucky winner of a SkyTeam trip around the world, Neil Chen of Flight Centre Strathfield Plaza (holding envelope) with SkyTeam manager commercial development Edward Hollo and flight attendants

Hollo said the Sydney lounge  would have full WiFi connectivity, a great wine bar  and a “fantastic hot food buffet”, featuring cuisine from the many different countries the SkyTeam carriers represent.

SkyTeam members are: Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, KoreanAir, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

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As for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ 95th birthday, the carrier was founded on 7 October 1919 to serve the Netherlands and its colonies. KLM is today the oldest airline still operating under its original name. KLM has been part of the Air France-KLM  group since the merger in 2004.

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For the record, the world’s second-oldest airline is Qantas – which is not a member of SkyTeam.

Written by : Peter Needham

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