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China Southern inks agreement for future membership in SkyTeam

China Southern is now the first carrier in the nation set to join an airline alliance…

China Southern is now the first carrier in the nation set to join an airline alliance. Mr.Yan Zhiqing, Chairman of China Southern Airlines, separately signed the agreement with the SkyTeam representatives Mr.Yang-Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO, Korean Air and Mr. Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman and CEO of Air France. Attending the signing ceremony here in Guangzhou were CAAC Minister Yang Yuanyuan, Guangdong Governor Mr. Huang Huahua, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission Chairman Mr. Zhao Xizi and China Southern Airlines Vice Chairman Mr. Liu Mingqi.

The SkyTeam Alliance was founded in June 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air. In 2001, CSA Czech Airlines and Alitalia joined the alliance. Since then, the SkyTeam alliance has expanded customer service with flights to 121 countries with 517 destinations, offering more than 8,300 flights per day with annual passenger traffic of more than 218 Million passengers.

“This agreement signing event is an important step forward into the future for China Southern Airlines to adapt itself to the need of reforms and opening to the international community, as it will strengthen the airline’s international cooperation and global competitiveness,” said Mr. Yan Zhiqing, Chairman, China Southern Airlines. He added that, “after joining Sky Team, the all-new Baiyun International Airport will be the first hub airport in China for SkyTeam. This new hub base will – at the same time – bring about new opportunities and growth for China Southern Airlines.”

Before this agreement signing, SkyTeam members had already established close relationships with China Southern Airlines. “As early as 1997, China Southern Airlines inked the ever first code-share pact in the Chinese aviation industry with the world’s #1 passenger carrier Delta Air Lines. Delta has placed its code on China Southern flights from Los Angeles to Guangzhou for years,” explained Mr. Lu Kun, Vice President, China Southern Airlines.

Mr. Li added that, “In January this year, China Southern and Air France jointly launched Guangzhou-Paris service under a code-share arrangement and in August we began code-sharing with Korean Air on each other’s Incheon – Shenyang routes. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which is poised to join SkyTeam this year, also has an important relationship with China Southern in both passenger and cargo services from Amsterdam to Beijing and numerous cities throughout China.”

“As a strategic partner for the alliance, China Southern will help us provide greater access to the country and region for customers of all the SkyTeam carriers,” said Mr.Yang-Ho Cho, Chairman and CEO, Korean Air.

“With China Southern’s entrance, the SkyTeam alliance will offer passengers new access to China, greatly facilitating the member airlines’ flights arrangement. The airline alliance is just aimed at providing passengers with more choices and greater convenience,” added Mr. Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman and CEO of Air France.

After joining SkyTeam, China Southern Airlines’ route network through its new hub base at the all-new Baiyun International Airport will be greatly enhanced and will offer its partner airlines’ passengers with more destinations and convenience, one-stop check-in as well as effortless transit connections from one SkyTeam code-share flight to another.

As a member of SkyTeam, China Southern Airlines will jointly cooperate with its partner airlines in sharing mutual facilities and joint purchases, joint frequent flyer program mileage as well as joint use of airport lounges around the globe.

“China Southern Airlines will begin to adjust its extensive network in China and throughout the world to complement our new alliance members as well as enhance its operations and service levels as we look forward to official membership in SkyTeam in an appropriate time,” added Mr. Li.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.