CANCUN, Mexico -- The SkyTeam alliance is considering accepting low-cost carriers (LCCs), CEO Perry Cantarutti said in an interview with Travel Weekly on Monday.

"We are looking at that. I think it is a likely development," Cantarutti said during an interview at the IATA general meeting in Cancun. "I don't know which carriers. I don't know when."

The alliance currently has 20 airlines, including Delta.

Cantarutti explained that the lines between legacy carriers and low-cost carriers are getting more blurred as LCCs are more frequently offering premium products while legacy carriers are introducing branded fares as well as unbundled, low-cost tickets.

SkyTeam, he explained, requires that its members offer some premium experiences, most notably premium check-in. His expectation would be that a low-cost carrier entrant would meet the existing SkyTeam standard.

"The alliance hasn't entertained having a second-tier product," Cantarutti said.

In late 2016, Star Alliance, which counts United among its members, inaugurated its Connecting Partner program with South African discount carrier Mango.

Connecting partners aren't formal Star members, but routes operated by those low-cost airlines are able to connect to the Star network. Customers who travel on an itinerary that includes both a connecting partner and a Star member only have to check in once and their baggage is transferred between the airlines without having to be claimed.

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