China Southern signs SkyTeam pact

China Southern Airlines has signed the official Global Airline Alliance Adherence Agreement (GAAAA) beginning its pathway to membership in the SkyTeam alliance. China Southern Airlines’ mission to join SkyTeam began on August 28, 2004, when China’s largest airline signed an initial agreement for future SkyTeam membership.

After today’s official signing ceremony, China Southern anticipates that integration of its IT and frequent flyer programs will be completed and membership granted into SkyTeam in the latter half of 2007.

After joining SkyTeam, China Southern Airlines will offer an unparalleled international travel experience, including: more choices with more than 2,100 worldwide ticket offices; more convenience as China Southern passengers will enjoy international standard e-ticketing; streamlined airport check-in procedures with self-service check-in kiosks and luggage drop-off counters and other electronic services to save valuable time.

The agreement was signed by SkyTeam representative Mr. Yang Ho Cho, chairman and chief executive officer of Korean Air; and Mr. Si Xian Min, president of China Southern Airlines.

Also present and addressing attendees of the signing ceremony were Mr. Yang Yuan Yuan, minister, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC); Mr. Liu Shao Yong, president of China Southern Air Holding Company and chairman of China Southern Airlines; Mr. Huang Hua Hua, governor of the Guangdong Province and Mr. Ma Guo An, deputy secretary-general, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

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China Southern passengers will benefit from the airline’s SkyTeam membership through standardized international customer service and convenient, hassle-free international connections when flying any SkyTeam-operated flights.

In addition, China Southern Sky Pearl Club frequent flyers, as well as FFP members from all SkyTeam members, will benefit from priority reservation waitlist when flying internationally on any SkyTeam member flights (up to or more than six hours in duration). Frequent flyers will also enjoy priority boarding and guaranteed full-fare economy reservations available to Sky Pearl Club Gold Card holders even on sold-out International flights (up to or more than six hours in duration), with a 24-hour notice. Joining SkyTeam will enable China Southern Airlines to fly out of Asia and stride forward towards the world in a quicker and better manner.

China Southern Airlines Chairman Mr. Liu Shao Yong said at the signing ceremony, “Joining SkyTeam will expand our international route network and flight density and will allow our airline to make full use of SkyTeam’s extensive network to extend China Southern flights throughout the world.”

Membership in SkyTeam will offer Sky Pearl Club Gold Card customers priority baggage handling using SkyTeam priority bag tags and access to more than 400 SkyTeam lounges on day of travel when flying on or connecting to/from an international flight operated by a SkyTeam member.

Redeeming mileage will be far easier for China Southern FFP members than ever before, as all Sky Pearl Club members can earn and redeem their FFP mileage for awards when flying any SkyTeam-operated flight.

China Southern Airlines is China’s largest airline, enjoying this rank for the past 27 years in terms of fleet, routes and annual passenger volume—an obvious advantage in the Chinese domestic aviation market. China Southern Airlines was the first Chinese carrier in to push forward a comprehensive computer reservation and e-ticketing system.

SkyTeam is one of the world’s three major global aviation alliances. Currently, SkyTeam has 10 member airlines that operate more than 2,000 aircraft and nearly 15,000 daily flights to 728 destinations in 149 countries. In 2005, SkyTeam member airlines carried more than 370 Million passengers. SkyTeam’s network includes hubs in major airports around the world, including Air France’s Paris Charles de Gaulle hub; Korean Air’s hub at Incheon International Airport and Aeromexico’s Mexico City Airport hub, the largest in the Latin American region.

On June 5, 2006, China Southern Airlines signed a Letter Of Intent with Guangdong Airport Group to jointly boost a strategic cooperation in building the Guangzhou air hub.

At the end of 2005, China Southern Airlines’ created its most important aviation branch, in Beijing, signaling in the airline’s progress in implementing its double-hub Guangzhou and Beijing airport strategy, setting in motion the airline’s important strategic transformation into a network-oriented carrier in preparation to join SkyTeam.
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