American Airlines today has committed to make a US$200 million equity investment in China Southern Airlines.
The US carrier said it hoped to create a strong foundation for a long-term relationship between two of the world’s biggest airlines.
“China Southern’s extensive network within China touches developing and thriving markets that only a Chinese carrier can reach and they have a reputation and record of excellence,” said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines.
“We are two of the biggest carriers in the world and our networks are highly complementary, with the potential to offer China Southern and American customers an unmatched range of destinations in two critical markets for business and leisure travellers.
“This investment will allow us to build a relationship that will benefit our teams, the communities we serve and the millions of customers around the globe who travel with us each day.”
China Southern’s primary hub is located in Guangzhou with the majority of its transpacific flights positioned there, while American flies to Beijing and Shanghai from its hubs in Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth and Los Angeles.
“We’re pleased to begin this relationship to better connect two of the world’s largest aviation markets and leading economies.
“Our cooperation has the possibility to create enormous benefits for our industry and customers around the world as we work to offer them more travel options and better value,” said China Southern chairman Wang Cheng Shun.
Later this year, the two carriers expect to begin codeshare and interline agreements that will give customers access to many more destinations in China, as well as North and South America.
American customers will be able to access nearly 40 destinations beyond Beijing and more than 30 destinations beyond Shanghai.
China Southern customers will gain access to almost 80 destinations beyond LAX, San Francisco, and New York’s Kennedy Airport in North and South America.
American currently offers daily service from DFW to Hong Kong, PEK and PVG; LAX to HKG and PVG; and ORD to PEK and PVG.
All flights to PEK and PVG are operated on the airline’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, while its HKG flights are operated using its flagship Boeing 777-300.
American also has Chinese-speaking flight attendants and offers fully lie-flat seats in first and business class cabins on all of its transpacific flights between China and the US.