Bringing Shenzhen Airlines into the Alliance is part of a long-term strategy to expand the Star Alliance network into the future growth markets, thus providing the international traveller with optimal flight options. In the case of China, the foundation for this strategy was set many years ago, by those Star Alliance member carriers who have been successfully serving this market for several decades. As a result, the Alliance was able to welcome Air China into the family in December 2007.
Albrecht added, "Shenzhen Airlines is the fifth largest airline in China operating from the fifth busiest airport in the country. In conjunction with Air China, we will be growing our customer offer especially in the southern part of China".
Through its future membership in Star Alliance, Shenzhen Airlines will be able to offer its customers access to a global network, along with seamless travel and status recognition within the various member carrier frequent flyer programmes.
Feng Gang, the president of Shenzhen Airlines said: "Joining Star Alliance will help Shenzhen Airlines in its mission to build on its strength of a well-known national carrier, while implementing its strategy of establishing itself as a strong brand across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond."
The integration teams at Shenzhen Airlines and Star Alliance have already begun the work that needs to be completed before a new airline can join the Star Alliance network. Air China will be assisting in this process.
Kong Dong, Air China Chairman said: “As the mentor of Shenzhen Airlines, Air China will provide its full support and assistance in facilitating the success of Shenzhen Airlines’ integration into the Star Alliance Network by the end of 2012. Besides, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines will actively participate in Alliance activities and initiatives, and work closely together with all member airlines to achieve win-win cooperation”.
Shenzhen Airlines will add five new destinations to the Star Alliance network in China: Juzhou (Zhejiang Province), Linyi, Qinhuangdao, Shijiazhuang, and Zhoushan. In total, the Star Alliance network will then encompass a total of 32 carriers (the current 27 and five future members), offering a choice of more than 23,000 daily flights to 1,315 destinations in 190 countries.