China Southern Airlines, Asia’s largest airline in all aspects, and British Airways, the United Kingdom’s largest international airline, have announced a codeshare partnership. The codeshare partnership will give customers of China Southern Airlines the opportunity to book seats on British Airways flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast through connecting flights from London Heathrow, for travel from December 19.
The United Kingdom is an important market to China Southern Airlines and also a significant part of the Canton Route. China Southern Airlines launched the Guangzhou-London Heathrow direct flight in 2012, providing business and leisure travellers with convenient travel options and gaining widespread popularity during the last five years. In order to satisfy the increasing demands of Sino-British travellers, China Southern Airlines launched a second Guangzhou-London Heathrow direct flight from 1 June 2017.
As part of the codeshare partnership, British Airways customers will be able to connect on to Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin through Shanghai, and connect on to Dalian and Changchun through Beijing. British Airways offers 10 weekly flights to Shanghai and seven to Beijing, from London Heathrow.
China Southern top management welcomed the establishment of the new partnership with British Airways, saying that: “The codeshare partnership with British Airways is a significant milestone in the airlines’ network development strategy and a key component of the airline’s footprint in the United Kingdom market. The United Kingdom is one of the most competitive markets, by partnering with British Airways, each airline can use its strength to benefit the other and offer more choices and enhanced connectivity to all guests while experiencing the world-class services and products offered by both airlines.”
Alex Cruz, chief executive of British Airways, said: "We are excited by today’s announcement, which will help to drive tourism and economic and cultural exchange between the UK and China, by facilitating reciprocal leisure and business travel.”
“Now we need the British government to take urgent action on its visa policy by making it easier for Chinese businesses and tourists to come to the UK. China is the world’s second largest economy and we need to do all we can to encourage these trade links. This is even more critical post Brexit.”
“We want to achieve our vision of becoming the most popular European airline among Chinese customers. Today’s agreement will help us build toward that vision and it is great news for us to be able to offer all our customers the chance to travel to new destinations.”
China Southern Airlines operates the largest fleet, most developed route network and largest passenger capacity of any airline in The People's Republic of China, and devotes to provide comfortable travel service. China Southern Airlines has formed an extensive network both throughout China and globally with Guangzhou, Beijing, Urumqi hubs.
British Airways offers a number of bespoke services on its flights to the UK, including tailored inflight menus to suit Chinese customers’ taste and Mandarin-speaking cabin crew to help customers travel with ease. The airline also has a Mandarin-speaking customer relations team to help customers before or after they travel. Recently, British Airways also introduced a Mandarin-speaking customer service team at London Heathrow Terminal 5 to help customers with their journey through the airport.