From Stars homepage:
Air China Limited to become a Star Alliance Member Carrier
Beijing, China – May 22nd, 2006 -Air China Limited ("Air China") and the Star Alliance, the airline network for Earth™, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming an invitation for Air China to join the alliance.
Commenting on today's event, Jaan Albrecht, Star Alliance CEO said: "With Air China having chosen to join Star Alliance, we have now taken the decisive step in implementing our strategy for the Chinese market. This decision truly lays the foundation for the future pace in Chinese Aviation."
Attending the event was the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel, who is on her first visit to China; German Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee; Minister Yang Yuanyuan of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China.
Mr. Li Jiaxiang, Chairman of China National Aviation Holding Company, Mr. Ma Xulun, President of Air China Limited, Mr. Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance and several CEOs of the Star Alliance member carriers were also present at the ceremony together with 150 distinguished guests.
Mr. Li Jiaxiang, Chairman of China National Aviation Holding Company and Chairman of Air China Limited, said in his speech: "With economic globalisation and open skies, the competition in the airline industry will become more and more severe. No one airline can create a global network by itself. In order to survive and develop, airlines have to cooperate with other partners in various forms including multilateral alliance cooperation."
"Cooperation between Air China and Star Alliance will be mutually beneficial. Currently, China is one of the fastest growing civil aviation markets with great potential. Through cooperation with Air China, Star Alliance will connect its international route network with China through Air China's extensive domestic network and extend its global route network. The travelling public will have access to more convenient services, savings made and efficiency improved," Mr. Li said.
The Star Alliance network recently also extended an invitation to Shanghai Airlines to join the alliance. This dual-hub approach will allow the alliance to offer a unique network from the two most important airports in China.
Once both Air China and Shanghai Airlines will have become full members of the alliance, the Star Alliance network will grow to 20 members, offering more than 16,500 daily fights to 912 destinations in 160 countries
About Air China
After going public in 2004, Air China has rapidly reformed through changed working and management practices. Profitable in 2004 Air China was also made a profit in 2005 with total turnover of 7.44 billion tonne kilometres [ up 10.2% ] Passenger transportation volume increased to 27.695 million [ up 13 percent ] Profit after tax was 2.406 billion RMB [ up 0.85 percent compared with the same period last year ].
Facing new domestic and international competition, Air China set up four strategic objectives: "to be recognised by premium passengers, achieve best profits, to be a valuable airline of China and an airline with global competitive strength."
Air China has a fleet of 176 aircraft, mainly Boeing and Airbus. It operates up to 70 domestic and 36 international destinations in 22 countries and regions. It flies around 4160 flights per week. Through code shares with 18 domestic and international airlines, Air China operates 1210 code share flights.
Benefits of Joining Star Alliance
Facing more and more severe competition after the open skies policy was introduced, Air China decided to join Star Alliance to further expand its route network and enhance international competitiveness.
Joining Star Alliance will enable Air China to accelerate establishment of its Beijing hub and improve flight connections with Star Alliance partners through the hub. Air China will work with the Star Alliance's strong sales network and its joint purchasing programs. Both will benefit Air China.
Chinese domestic passengers will be able to purchase a ticket flying to any destination operated by any alliance member airline. Members of Star Alliance carrier Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP) will be able to collect and redeem miles, kilometres or points on any member carrier. Star Alliance Gold members received alliance-wide benefits, such as for example dedicated check-in counters and priority wait listing.
Star Alliance customers have access to 660 airport lounges. Check-in, joint ticketing and baggage facilities, collocation and connection teams at key airports all play a role in creating a smoother travel experience. Star Alliance carriers can offer passengers a variety of air passes and special fares including a Round the World Fare, Circle Asia Fare, Circle Pacific Fare and the African, Asian, Brazilian, European, Japan, North American, South Pacific and Thailand Air passes.
Now 52 years old Air China has a strong management. Since going public Air China has undergone internal reform, including changes in its corporate organisation and culture. Taking advantage of the strength of Air China in the domestic market, Star Alliance member airlines will closely connect the alliance's international network with China, one of the biggest potential markets.