MANCHESTER, England, July 8 The three main
global airline alliances face common problems and should work
together to try to resolve them, the chief executive of Russia's
Aeroflot said on Monday.
Vitaly Saveliev distanced himself from reports that Aeroflot
planned to quit the SkyTeam alliance of 19 global airlines.
Daily newspaper Kommersant reported last month that Aeroflot
was considering leaving SkyTeam because of unfavourable
agreements with other members, in particular U.S. carrier Delta
Air Lines Inc.
A source close to the Aeroflot board told Reuters that the
company saw no benefit from its membership, but that a
decision to leave was not for management to take. Aeroflot's
main shareholder is the Russian state.
"If we look at three current major alliances, SkyTeam,
OneWorld and Star, all three are facing similar problems,"
Saveliev told Reuters.
"One being the fight with terrorism and the overall
security, safety issues. Another is the price of fuel and the
third being the competition with other modes of transport like
high-speed trains and cars," he added, speaking through an
interpreter as the company announced a sponsorship of English
soccer club Manchester United.
"It would be logical to let the alliances work closely
together to address these issues," said Saveliev. "Maybe it was
some of these ideas that we voiced that gave somebody the belief
that we may be considering leaving the alliance."
The agreement to join SkyTeam in 2004 was signed in the
Kremlin, a political stamp of approval largely due to close ties
with France. Air France-KLM is a leading member of the
Kommersant cited sources close to Aeroflot's board of
directors as saying the company was not happy with the
development of its routes in the United States, where Delta Air
Lines charges relatively high fares.