China Southern Airlines has signed an agreement for future membership in the SkyTeam alliance.
SkyTeam was founded in June 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air. Since then the group has grown to include Czech Airlines and Alitalia.
“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 co-operation and global competitiveness,” CSA chairman Yan Zhiqing said.
He said the new Baiyun International Airport would also be SkyTeam’s first airport hub in China.
China Southern has had close relationships with Skyteam members for some time. The airline established a codeshare deal with Delta Airlines in 1997 and more recently with Air France and Korean Air.
“With China Southern’s entrance, the SkyTeam alliance will offer passengers new access to China, greatly facilitating the member airlines’ flights arrangement,” Air France chairman Jen-Cyril Spinetta said.
As a member of SkyTeam, China Southern will 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.
Later this year, Continental Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines are also slated to join the alliance