SkyTeam, one of the three major global airline alliances, is growing again. The Middle-Eastern carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines has joined the group, according to reports. This is not unexpected; the potential for this move was reported a month ago when the carrier signed an agreement with SkyTeam member Air France to establish a significant code-share and joint marketing agreement. Then again, the Saudia website only mentions the code-share agreement, not the alliance shift, so it is not particularly clear that this really is a move the alliance can claim as growth.
If the story is true it would be the first major Middle-Eastern carrier to join one of the global alliances. The other carriers in the region have, to date, all remained independent with specific bilateral agreements where appropriate.
Still looking for confirmation from any of the associated press groups (SkyTeam is somewhat notorious for not updating their website with changes like this) and hoping to nail this down shortly.
UPDATE: A press release was issued this afternoon confirming the move. The carrier is expected to be integrated into SkyTeam in 2012.
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