China Eastern Airlines To Join Skyteam

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines has announced its intention to join the Skyteam alliance. At a ceremony held at the Xijiao State Guest House in Shanghai, the airline signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become Skyteam’s second Chinese member by mid-2011, boosting the alliance’s domestic Chinese network.


The move is expected to allow China Eastern Airlines access to international markets and growth beyond Asia through Skyteam’s network. Being in the same alliance will allow the airline cooperate closely with Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico in transpacific and South American markets, while Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines and KLM will provide growth to and from Europe. China Eastern Airlines passengers will also gain access to 856 destinations in 169 countries on more than 13,133 flights daily, as well as frequent flyer and status benefits on partner airlines. On the domestic front, the airline will be able to increase its cooperation with China Southern Airlines to compete against Star Alliance member Air China.


For Skyteam, the announcement strenghthens its position in the important Chinese domestic market over rivals Star Alliance and Oneworld, which is the only major alliance without a domestic Chinese member. With the admission of China Eastern Airlines, the alliance will be able to offer services out of the 3 major Chinese markets with the addition of Shanghai as a hub to Beijing and Guangzhou, which is covered through current member China Southern Airlines. 25 new destinations will also be added to the Skyteam network and bolster its Asian presence.


China Eastern Airlines and Skyteam are now expected to sign the alliance agreement in June 2010, which will lead to an official Skyteam membership entry around mid-2011. The alliance, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, will also welcome Vietnam Airlines and TAROM as members this June. Skyteam currently has Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM and Korean Air as members, while Air Europa and Kenya Airways are admitted as associate airlines.


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