SkyTeam's turn towards a non-leading player in China signals a shift towards Asian for the alliance and a confirmation that future growth will take place outside of Europe and North America.
SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, today welcomes China’s Xiamen Airlines as its 19th member. Xiamen Airlines is also the fourth member from Greater China. The airline strengthens SkyTeam’s footprint in China and its overall #1 position in the Greater China Region by adding three new hubs – Xiamen, Fuzhou and Hangzhou – combined with a comprehensive domestic and growing international network.
China’s sixth largest carrier, Xiamen Airlines is also one of the world’s most profitable, having posted positive financial results for 26 consecutive years. The airline flies more than 15 million passengers annually to more than 50 cities including Macau, Hong Kong and Taipei. Founded in 1984, it is headquartered in the coastal city of Xiamen in the dynamic province of Fujian. This area of China boasts a thriving and diverse industrial economy as well as a growing tourism market.
Xiamen Airlines’ fast expanding international network includes Southeast and Northeast Asia and the airline has announced plans to launch flights to Europe, North America and Australasia by 2014 after the introduction of the Boeing 787. SkyTeam membership offers Xiamen Airlines’ customers greater connectivity onto international routes from China operated by other alliance members. This includes carriers from the region: China Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern, and nine additional SkyTeam airlines: Aeromexico, Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Delta, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines.
“By joining SkyTeam, Xiamen Airlines opens up the world to its passengers. And today we also strengthen SkyTeam’s footprint in China,” said Michael Wisbrun, SkyTeam’s managing director. “Greater China remains a priority region for our alliance. Xiamen Airlines will join our members China Southern, China Eastern and China Airlines in developing customer-focused initiatives for the region.”
“Membership of SkyTeam will enable us to deliver enhanced customer benefits as we diversify and grow our network and this is key to the success of our new international routes,” said Che Shanglun, President and CEO of Xiamen Airlines. “Our passengers can anticipate exciting new destinations while we look forward to a future of cooperation with our alliance partners.” In keeping with SkyTeam’s focus on enriching the customer experience, Xiamen Airlines has also started rolling out SkyPriority, SkyTeam priority airport services for SkyTeam Elite Plus, First and Business Class passengers worldwide.
Effective immediately, Xiamen Airlines’ customers will be able to earn and redeem miles on services operated by all SkyTeam member airlines. Members of other SkyTeam airlines’ frequent flyer programs can also earn and redeem miles when flying on Xiamen Airlines-operated flights. SkyTeam passengers traveling to China will be able to fly on Xiamen Airlines flights as part of SkyTeam’s Go Round the World and Go Greater China Passes, giving them even more options to enjoy flexible, cost-effective travel globally and throughout the region.
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Photo credit: A Xiamen Airlines 737. Kentaro lemoto / Flickr.com