China Eastern Airlines announced (11-Nov-2013) that during the 2013/14 winter schedules, the carrier will codeshare with 11 SkyTeam Alliance members including Air France, Delta, Alitalia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, China Southern Airlines, Aeroflot, Kenya Airways, Vietnam Airlines, China Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. China Eastern stated it will continue to deepen its cooperation with fellow SkyTeam members and is currently working with Air France, Delta and Kenya Airways to extend its network within France and Europe as well as long-haul routes such as Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. The carrier also plans to continue expand its codeshare cooperation on Nairobi-Guangzhou route. In 2014, China Eastern plans to formally implement codesharing with Air Europa on Madrid route, subject to government approval. Meanwhile, the carrier stated it is actively communicating with CAAC to seek approval to codeshare with Garuda Indonesia. The carrier will also continue to codeshare with seven domestic and international airlines outside of the global alliance, including Japan Airlines, Qantas, WestJet, Etihad Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Joy Air and Juneyao Airlines. As of Nov-2013, China Eastern’s network covers 15,000 services to 1024 destinations across 178 countries through its alliances. The carrier also has access to 530 airport lounges globally. [more - original PR - Chinese]
China Eastern Airlines in talks to codeshare with Air Europa and Garuda Indonesia
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Aeroflot 6th freedom Part 2: China service is a strength for a SkyTeam member excluded from JVs
Part 1 of this report on Aeroflot's connecting sixth freedom traffic noted that Aeroflot is the 13th largest carrier of passengers between Western Europe and Northeast Asia, whereas Finnair – whose "Nordic Shortcut" strategy is well-known – is slightly larger and is the 10th largest operator. After Emirates, Aeroflot is the largest airline flying passengers between the regions but is not based in either of them; all the other operators are Western European or Northeast Asian airlines.
This second and final part examines Aeroflot's growing connecting market in depth. Of the airline's connecting Western Europe-Northeast Asian passengers, 54% are travelling to/from mainland China. This correlates with the share of Aeroflot capacity allocated to China. Among Finnair, Turkish and the Gulf 3 "superconnectors", Aeroflot has the fewest destinations in Northeast Asia. Yet its frequency in prime Chinese cities is unmatched. Aeroflot has the benefit of good aeropolitical relations with China while benefitting from other airlines being restricted over Chinese airspace. This may appear to be a short term advantage that will reduce as competition grows.
Yet a review of the city pairs where Aeroflot is the strongest on transfer traffic indicates growth opportunities as more markets are incorporated into JVs and complacency settles in. This may increase already tense relations between Aeroflot and its SkyTeam partners. Pursuing stronger transfer traffic will be a delicate decision for Aeroflot management.
Chinese airlines' long haul growth tilts the balance of power in Asia, as southeast Asia shrinks
Asia's airlines are embarking on what they see as once-in-a-lifetime long haul growth. Since 2014 there has been an acceleration of new long haul destinations. In the seven years before 2014 airlines in Northeast Asia – excluding mainland China – opened 19 destinations that are still served in 2016. In the three years since 2014 they have opened, or intend to open, 24 markets. All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific show the largest growth, opening nine destinations each. Most recently announced was Mexico City for ANA in 2017.
Mainland Chinese airlines are setting even higher records – opening 75 long haul markets since 2006. Air China is opening 17 markets, followed by Hainan Airlines with 16 markets. Of the 75 destinations, 51 were opened only from 2014. Southeast Asia is a story of contraction. Malaysia Airlines used to be the third largest airline for non-Asian destinations but now Sichuan Airlines has just as many as Malaysia. Philippine Airlines and Singapore Airlines have added markets, but for SIA this has resulted in modest net growth.