China Southern To Leave SkyTeam Alliance
China Southern Airlines has decided not to renew its contract with airline alliance SkyTeam, and will leave at the beginning of next year.
The airline said the decision was taken “to better align with the new trend of cooperation model in the global aviation industry.”
China Southern’s membership formally ends on January 1, 2019 and it said it will complete transition arrangements during 2019. During the transition it will work with SkyTeam on “a cooperative process to ensure a sound transition for customers and partners.”
A company statement said it will explore the establishment of new airline partnerships and promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
SkyTeam said China Southern’s decision reflects its strategic development, the changing trends of the global aviation industry and the evolution of alliances.
“Network has always been the foundation of SkyTeam… and China Southern has been a valued member. We respect its decision and wish it well,” the alliance’s chief executive Kristin Colvile said.
China Southern is now expected to extend its relationship with American Airlines, and possibly join the competing oneworld alliance.
A statement from the US airline said it was pleased with the newly formed relationship and sees a great opportunity to continue its expansion. It pointed to the opening of Beijing’s new Daxing Airport next year and, with further cooperation from China Southern, a strong future in the Chinese market.