SKYTEAM SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH CHINA SOUTHERN, REINFORCING AIRLINE’S COMMITMENT TO JOIN THE ALLIANCE
Alliance moves closer to welcoming first Chinese carrier
Guangzhou, June 28, 2006 – Today SkyTeam alliance signed a Global Airline Alliance Adherence Agreement (GAAAA) with China Southern Airlines, the largest carrier in the People’s Republic of China, indicating that the Chinese carrier is on track for official alliance membership. The agreement is a formal step in the alliance’s new member process and outlines China Southern Airline’s commitment to meet the stringent set of standards and joining requirements to be officially recognized as part of the SkyTeam alliance.
The signing ceremony took place in Guangzhou and was attended by [Chinese government and CZ representatives to be determined]. SkyTeam representatives, including Yang Ho Cho, chairman and chief executive officer of Korean Air and [other representatives to be determined], were also present.
“Today, China Southern Airlines is one step closer to joining SkyTeam,” said Mr. Cho. “As we move toward this goal, SkyTeam looks forward to integrating the airline’s service offering into the alliance network. This will expand SkyTeam’s service in China and other key regions, while adding a well-positioned, modern hub in Guangzhou airport to the alliance’s hub network. SkyTeam passengers can look forward to increased travel options in a region experiencing strong travel demand.”
China Southern Airlines operates the most extensive airline route network in China and serves a range of international cities that are complementary SkyTeam’s current destination network, including: Fukuoka, Japan and Melbourne, Australia.
China Southern Airlines will officially become a member of SkyTeam once bilateral codesharing, frequent flyer and lounge agreements with each of the SkyTeam carriers are in place and the carrier satisfies all SkyTeam joining requirements. Completion of these requirements is expected in 2007.
“Signing this agreement with SkyTeam is an important step forward for China Southern Airlines, reaffirming our commitment to join the alliance,” said Mr. Liu Shao Yang, Chairman & President of China Southern Airlines. “Membership in the SkyTeam alliance will strengthen our global competitiveness and allow us to provide our passengers with unparalleled global connectivity. We look forward to further integration with alliance members as we continue to make progress toward meeting our goal of membership.”
Since signing an initial agreement in 2004, China Southern Airlines has been making significant progress in its preparation to join the alliance and has been working with the alliance’s members on individual cooperation. For example, Air France, which first signed a codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines in 2003, was the first European carrier to serve Guangzhou. More recently, China Southern Airlines and KLM began cooperating on new routes and frequencies between Europe and China, including the Chengdu-Amsterdam route announced last month. Currently, four SkyTeam member airlines, Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Korean Air, have established relationships with the airline on cargo and/or passenger services.
With a fleet of 259 aircraft, China Southern Airlines serves more than 44 million passengers annually and operates more than 600 routes, serving 142 destinations [to be clarified; May 2006 press release claims service to 80 cities; June 2006 brochure claims service to 142 cities] including Los Angeles, Sydney, Singapore, Amsterdam, Paris, Seoul and Tokyo.
The signing of the GAAAA agreement marks an important step toward the future of the SkyTeam alliance, as the alliance celebrates its sixth anniversary this month. Over the last year alone, the alliance has made significant progress in its network and service development strategies. Key achievements over the year include:
- Welcoming Aeroflot as a new member, expanding the alliance’s network in Central and Eastern Europe;
- Launching the SkyTeam Associate Program, signing agreements with six Associate Airline candidates to date: Air Europa of Spain, Copa of Panama, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines of Lebanon, Portugalia Airlines of Portugal and Tarom of Romania;
- Offering new business travel solution products, including SkyTeam Global Corporate Accounts and SkyTeam Global Meetings, and expanding the alliance’s global customer base to include Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands and International Paris Air Show Le Bourget;
- Adding the Asia Pass to SkyTeam’s expanded offering of fare products;
- Becoming Global Traveler’s 2005 Best Airline Alliance, selected by business and leisure travelers.
The alliance looks forward to continuing its strong momentum in the year ahead.
About China Southern Airlines
The largest airline in The People’s Republic of China for the past 27 years, China Southern Airlines – www.cs-air.com/en -- connects more than 80 cities around the globe [to be clarified; May 2006 press release claims service to 80 cities; June 2006 brochure claims service to 142 cities]. Major business and vacation destinations served in China include: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan and as well as International service, including: Amsterdam, Bangkok, Fukuoka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, Penang, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
SkyTeam is the global airline alliance partnering 10 members, including Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air France, Alitalia, Continental Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Northwest Airlines. Through one of the world’s most extensive hub networks, SkyTeam offers its 373 million annual passengers a worldwide system of nearly 15,000 daily flights covering all major destinations. In 2005, readers of Global Traveler Magazine voted SkyTeam “Best Airline Alliance.” Please visit SkyTeam on the Web at www.skyteam.com.
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