On Thursday, China Southern Airlines officially became the 11th full member of the SkyTeam airline alliance. China is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and the addition of China Southern allows SkyTeam to provide its customers around the world with greater travel options to one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
With the addition of China Southern Airlines, SkyTeam now serves approximately 428 million annual passengers through a worldwide system of 16,400 daily flights covering 841 destinations in 162 countries. China Southern has one of the most extensive airline route networks in China. The carrier is also widely recognized for its safety and customer service standards, and was honored with the Four-Star Flight Safety Award by the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) in 2007 – one of the most prestigious awards in safe flight operations in the Chinese aviation industry.
“We are excited to welcome China Southern Airlines, one of Asia’s largest and leading carriers, into our network,” said Leo van Wijk, chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board. “This move allows us to offer our customers unparalleled access to the markets they want to reach. Offering the highest flight frequencies in China, China Southern’s membership strengthens the alliance’s position in serving the world’s fastest growing markets.”
The addition of China Southern also bolsters the alliance’s global hub network with the addition of New Baiyun International Airport, a well-positioned, modern hub in Guangzhou, and Beijing Capital International Airport. China Southern operates its own terminal at Beijing Capital International Airport.
“SkyTeam is known for its unrivaled global connectivity and as a member, we can better serve our customers, particularly as the 2008 Beijing Olympics approach,” said Liu Shao Yong, Chairman of China Southern Airlines. “China Southern’s extensive intra-Asia network serves as a powerful link in SkyTeam’s robust global network.”
China Southern Airlines made significant progress and fulfilled all SkyTeam alliance membership requirements since signing a memorandum for membership in August 2004. The carrier earned recognition as a SkyTeam member airline after reaching a number of agreements with each of the alliance member carriers, including bilateral codeshare, frequent flyer and lounge agreements