China Southern signs MoU with British Airways
China Southern Airlines (CSA) and British Airways (BA) signalled the deepening of their relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) late last month that will broaden their code share arrangements, including expansion on domestic routes, and will introduce reciprocal frequent flyer benefits for passengers of both airlines. Read More »
Director general of China Southern’s commercial steering committee, Laijun Lo, said: “By signing this MoU, we hope to develop our long-term strategic partnership with BA by extending the network reach of both airlines and providing more convenience for the customers of two carriers.”
The airlines began co-operating in 2017 and code share on 10 routes: China Southern operated Shenyang/Harbin/Changchun-Shanghai, Dalian/Changchun-Beijing and BA’s flights from Heathrow to Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.
The Guangzhou-headquartered carrier’s resignation from the SkyTeam alliance became effective on January 1 after 14 years of membership. CSA is the largest carrier in Asia and the third largest in the world. It has a fleet of 840 aircraft and a staff of 100,000 worldwide.
Separately, Qatar Airways group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, continues to keep the industry guessing about his allegiance to oneworld following his purchase of five per cent of alliance free CSA.
At the launch of Doha-Gothenburg last month he told media “these big alliances have an old-fashioned mindset. They were good 20 years ago, but they are not the way forward. The challenge is about how to get out of them”.
“I would rather make bilateral agreements with partners where it makes sense for us. They may be partners we have invested or independent partners,” he said.
He said Qatar was “ready to terminate our membership” at the turn of the year. “The director of oneworld has spoken to me and I have raised my concerns,” he said.
“Now we have to see how they are addressed internally and whether they can be solved. We have to give 12 months of notice if we [intend to] withdraw. This is an agreement we will comply with.”