Air China to be 20th member of Star Alliance, becoming TAP and Varig partner

23 May 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 23 May – Air China is expected to soon become the 20th member of the airline grouping, Star Alliance, of which Portuguese state airline TAP, and Brazil’s air carrier Varig are already a part.

Air China and Star Alliance signed a memorandum of understanding Monday to make the invitation for the Chinese company to join the alliance official.

Before Air China joins, Shanghai Airlines is expected to join in the next few months, as it was invited at the beginning of May.

The current member of the alliance are: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Bmi, Lot, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, Swiss, TAP, Thai, United, US Airways and Varig.

When the two Chinese companies become official members, the Star alliance will have 21 members, guaranteeing 16,500 daily flights to 912 destinations in 160 countries, according to a statement from Star Alliance.

Since the beginning of the year, Varig and Air China have been running shared flights between Brazil and China, with stop offs in Germany.

Brazil is also one of the main markets for Portugal’s TAP, which has been turning Lisbon’s airport into a continental European hub for transatlantic links. (macauhub)