Beijing, China, 14 Nov – Air China and Shanghai Airlines, two of China’s largest air carriers, are to join the Star Alliance airline network in 2007, the official Chinese press reported Monday.
According to official Chinese financial newspaper, the Economic Observer, the Star Alliance explained the quick entrance of the Chinese airlines in the group with the need to boost operations in the country as the alliance expects more than 137 million people to visit China in 2020, or 8.6 percent of the global passenger market.
In May, Air China and Shanghai Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding that made the invitation for the Chinese companies to join the 18-company alliance official. The precise date on which the airlines will join the alliance has yet to be set.
The Star Alliance, which has air links with 152 countries, also focuses, according to the newspaper, on the business passengers from small and medium-sized companies.
The Star Alliance currently includes 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 airlines become members, the Star Alliance will have 20 members, providing 16,500 daily flights to 912 destinations in 160 countries. (macauhub)