Qantas has significantly bolstered its reach into the burgeoning China market with the signing of a codesharing agreement with that country’s largest and fastest growing airline, China Southern, with whom it has also flagged further cooperation.
The deal will see Qantas codeshare on China Southern flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to Guangzhou, and from Guangzhou on connecting flights to Xiamen, Kunming, Fuzhou and Urumqi. In turn China Southern will codeshare on 10 Qantas domestic and New Zealand services. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, but would see codesharing commence in “early” 2014.
Qantas already has a codesharing arragement with Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines (which is also partnering with Qantas in its Jetstar Hong Kong operation).
“Partnering is key to our strategy in Asia and we’re very pleased to now have China Southern as one of our codeshare partners in the world’s fastest growing aviation market,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in announcing the codeshare deal in Guangzhou on Monday.
Further, Qantas says that the “two airlines have also agreed to investigate other areas of potential cooperation, including pilot training assistance from Qantas and cargo opportunities.”
“The signing of this agreement between China Southern and Qantas Airways blazes a new and exciting trail for our two companies,” said China Southern Airlines chairman Si Xianmin.
“We welcome this move because it will give our passengers greater access to Australia and will also open up Australian tourism to a leisure and business market that is growing by nearly 20 per cent a year.”
China Southern is majority owned by the Chinese government. It began operating the A380 on its daily Sydney-Guangzhou services in late October and is profiled in the December issue of Australian Aviation