Shanghai Airlines is to become part of the airline alliance together with China Eastern and Taipei-based China Airlines.
Today’s announcement that Shanghai Airlines will become part of SkyTeam under the wings of parent company China Eastern puts another piece of the Greater China puzzle firmly in place for the global airline alliance. Shanghai-based China Eastern, which Shanghai Airlines merged with 18 months ago, signed an agreement to join SkyTeam in June.
Now both airlines are due to become full alliance members from 2011, adding 32 new destinations to the SkyTeam network. Marie-Joseph Malé, SkyTeam’s managing director, emphasised that “the addition of the combined networks of China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines gives new opportunities for SkyTeam customers to access cities in all regions of China using Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports.”
The deal enlarges SkyTeam’s dominance in the Greater China region, as the merged airlines’ combined networks compare to that of Guangzhou-based member China Southern. China Airlines, based in Taipei, is also expected to join the alliance in the same period. In September, it formally announced the start of its joining process leading to full entry into the alliance.
As the biggest passenger airline providing services between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the addition of China Airlines to SkyTeam will also boost Taiwan’s efforts to become one of Asia’s leading air transport and business hubs. SkyTeam will benefit from the 93 international routes that China Airlines brings to the network, including four new destinations – Okinawa, Miyazaki, Surabaya and Palau.