American Airlines purchased last year a nearly 3% of China’s largest domestic carrier China Southern. The purchase was seen as a way for American to get a bigger foothold in the Chinese market, as well as providing more connections to China. This is the second purchase of a Chinese carrier’s shares by a US legacy airline. Delta already owns part of China Eastern, another major Chinese carrier. As part of the airline’s cooperation, China Southern and American are set to start codesharing.
AA has, in so far, only announced codeshares for domestic Chinese flights. These flights will be out of Beijing, complementing American’s new service to the city from LAX. American will place its code on 14 flights, to destinations such as Guangzhou, Xi’an and Hangzhou. The two airlines have co-located at Beijing’s terminal 2, and are expected to announce further codeshare routes as time goes on.
China Southern Codeshares
China Southern will be adding their code to some of the American routes out of LAX, Toronto and SFO. The airline will add its code to 9 destinations out of LAX, 2 destinations out of YYZ and 4 destinations out of SFO. I expect the airline will later add codeshare routes out of JFK. The airlines do not colocate at any US airport, but it is not unforeseeable that they may join homes at JFK.
The next steps, in my opinion, are adding frequent flyer reciprocal benefits. The ability for customers to spend miles and earn miles on each others flights, as well as lounge access. As the airlines tweak out the nuances of their new agreement, we should expect more connections and more opportunities for passengers for each airline. In a long run, long shot possibility, China Southern will eventually join oneWorld, as they plan to terminate their codeshare agreement with Delta. I suspect China Southern will launch more routes to AA hubs, and forge stronger partnerships with oneWorld partners.
As a frequent American flier, I am very happy to see they finally have a strong partner in China. American currently codeshares with Hainan Airlines on some routes, but do not have a frequent flyer partnership. I can see both airlines being able to coexist as American Airlines partners. However, expect to see CZ as their main Chinese partner for AA. By the end of 2018, we will have a clearer example of how the partnership will work.
What do you think? Will you take advantage of the new codeshare agreements? What will be the next step between CZ and AA? Let us know!
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H/T: Travel Weekly