China Southern Airline To Leave SkyTeam For New Carrier Partnerships

China Southern Airlines
The company logo of China Southern Airlines is displayed at a news conference in Hong Kong
(Photo: REUTERS)

China Southern Airlines discussed plans on Thursday to depart the SkyTeam airline alliance which, if it comes to fruition, can open opportunities for the carrier to join Oneworld group, putting it alongside American Airlines Group, Inc.

A disclosure statement given during the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, the Guangzhou-based carrier said that it will not renew its membership in SkyTeam which is slated to expire on January 1, 2019. Furthermore, it will complete the company's transition arrangements before this year ends, a report from Flight Global indicated.

This decision is part of China Southern Airline's long-term development plan which would align itself with the so-called new trend of cooperation model that is now gaining more prevalence in the global aviation industry.

Moreover, it is the aim of the company to further explore possibilities wherein it can forge new partnerships with its contemporaries in the sector around the world while at the same time, promoting the Chinese government's ideals of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with international companies. Even more so, China Southern's new venture is a testament to its continuing efforts to provide its passengers around the world the quality services they deserve.

The airline firm went on to clarify that the new alliance should not affect nor create any impact on its usual business operations, in fact, it is seen as a way for them to improve more in its services.

SkyTeam, meanwhile, said in its remark that it respected the decision from China Southern to separate from the bloc. In a statement made by the alliance's chief executive, Kristin Colvile, China Southern has always been a valued member of the group and that it wishes the company well in its new journey.

SkyTeam is one of the three major global airline clubs, along with Star Alliance and Oneworld.

A Potential Danger?

This recent move from China's biggest airline could create a major shakeup not only within the country but of the world's aviation market such that it could have some implications for Hong Kong's own Cathay Pacific Airways.

Cathay Pacific is one of the key members of Oneworld and with another China-based airline company joining the mix, according to some analysts, this might not spell well for both firms.

The report from South China Morning Post cited industry watchers saying that this new partnership could bring a whole new meaning to airline competition.

While both airlines served virtually the same destinations, this might pose a threat to Cathay Pacific's hub, said one expert. The Guangzhou hub, meanwhile, will benefit greatly on the China Southern-Oneworld alliance since it could attract other member-carriers to use the hub as their main gateway to mainland China.

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