The Lufthansa Group and Air China are set to increase their co-operation after signing a commercial joint venture (JV). The agreement, confirmed on September 20, follows the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2014 and will see the carriers significantly expand their code-sharing connections.
Commenting on the deal, Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr said: “As the flag carrier, Air China is the ideal partner for the Lufthansa Group in the People’s Republic of China. This ground-breaking joint venture will fundamentally strengthen our competitive position on routes between Europe and China. The significantly enhanced partnership will enable us to create additional benefits for customers.” Spohr continued: “The Chinese aviation market is one of the most important growth markets worldwide. We want to profit from this growth together with our Star Alliance partner Air China.”
Air China’s Chairman Cai Jianjiang added: “The Joint Venture with Lufthansa and its subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines is another major steps of Air China’s globalisation strategy following our accession into Star Alliance in December 2007. Both parties can further strengthen our overall competitive edge in both China and Europe. Under the Joint Venture framework, we will further expand network coverage in China and Europe, enhance the flight connections in beyond markets and optimize flight schedules, enabling us to bring more and flexible flight choices, favourable fare products and seamless travel experiences.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the two carriers will co-ordinate their respective timetables to improve connectivity, offer common fares and examine opportunities to better integrate their frequent flyer programmes.
It is the third such agreement put in place by Lufthansa in the last year after it signed similar deals with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Singapore Airlines last November.