Star Alliance today officially introducing the newest member Asiana Airlines. As Asiana joins the alliance, Star Alliance has once again become the strongest airline alliance in china, serving 18 Chinese cities (More than 600 weekly flights), excluding Hong Kong.
"Our new member, Asiana Airlines, is an invaluable asset with its strong presence in mainland China," said Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance. "Mainland China has tremendous market potential in terms of air travel. The number of visitors to China is expected to grow at annual double-digit rates for years to come. With the entry of Asiana into our group, Star Alliance offers by far the most comprehensive coverage in this fast-growing and important market.
Albrecht also mentioned that Star Alliance will eventually have their very own Chinese member (hinting Air China).
The Star Alliance summer timetable will include scheduled services to the following cities in mainland China:
Guangzhou/CAN - Changchun/CGQ - Chongqing/CKG - Chengdu/CTU - Dalian/DLC - Hangzhou/HGH - Harbin/HRB - Kunming/KMG - Guilin/KWL - Nanjing/NKG - Beijing/PEK - Shanghai/PVG - Shenyang/SHE - Qingdao/TAO - Tianjin/TSN - Xian/XIY - Xiamen/XMN - Yantai/YNT.
Asiana Airlines says that it'll begin to launch code-share flight with United Airlines and Air Canada. Asiana/United code-shares will cover Trans-Pacific route out of Tokyo/Seoul, plus selected domestic route. Asiana/Air Canada code-share will cover Seoul-Vancouver, possibly 2nd half of 2003.
Meanwhile, Spanair will become the 16th Star Alliance member on April 1, and LOT to become the 17th on June 1.