American Airlines and China Southern Airlines – the biggest airlines in the US and China respectively – are to strengthen their partnership.
The two airlines have announced significant expansion of codeshare cooperation and the launch of reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and lounge access. The carriers announced the news today at a signing ceremony in Guangzhou, China.
The news comes hot on the heels of China Southern Airlines announcing earlier this month it will leave the SkyTeam alliance on 1 January 2019.
American Airlines president, Robert Isom said: “We are very pleased with the progress we have made so far in our newly formed relationship with the largest airline in Asia.
“We look forward to building on our successes with a significant expansion of our codeshare cooperation and the addition of reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and lounge access.
“With the opening of Beijing Daxing International Airport in 2019, and the ability to cooperate fully with China Southern, we are incredibly excited about American’s future in the Chinese market.”
China Southern Air Holding Company Limited assistant president, Zhang Lin said the airline is delighted to see the partnership being further strengthened.
He added: “The advanced cooperation between China Southern and American will help both of us extend networks and meet passenger demands through sharing resources. Our cooperation is market- and passenger-oriented, founded on a win-win relationship.
“It corresponds to the need for frequent and intimate exchange between China and the U.S. and is in line with our value proposition of customer first. Our partnership with American is an important move in China Southern’s initiative to build new international relationships.”
American and China Southern’s reciprocal codeshare, which launched in January, gives American’s customers better access to interior China and China Southern’s customers better access to the US pending regulatory approvals.
As part of the codeshare expansion, American will have its AA code on flights operated by China Southern to 20 cities in China beyond Beijing and Shanghai. China Southern Airlines will have its CZ code on flights operated by American to 21 cities in the US beyond Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York JFK.
American and China Southern will also begin codesharing on each other’s trans-Pacific flights between the US and China.
They will also launch reciprocal frequent flyer benefits early next year, giving customers the ability to earn and redeem miles on the other carrier’s flights.
Additionally, American and China Southern will begin offering reciprocal lounge access next year. Eligible American Airlines customers will have access to selected China Southern Sky Pearl Lounges throughout Asia and eligible China Southern customers will have access to selected American Airlines lounges around the world.