BA & China Southern: new JV leads in UK-China airline market

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British Airways and China Southern Airlines commenced a joint venture agreement on 2-Jan-2020. The agreement covers the two airlines' routes between the UK and China and will expand to include their domestic networks. BA operates from London Heathrow to Beijing and Shanghai, while China Southern serves Heathrow from Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan & Zhengzhou.

Under the deal, BA and China Southern cooperate on schedules and pricing, and providing reciprocal website booking, frequent flyer benefits and lounge access.

The new agreement builds on British Airways and China Southern's codeshare agreement, previously limited to carrying each other's codes only on certain domestic routes (and BA's Heathrow-Amsterdam service). The routes operated by the two airlines between London and China are now not only codeshare routes, but also form the core of the JV arrangement.

According to data from OAG, BA and China Southern's combined UK-China capacity in the JV jumps ahead of the Virgin Atlantic/China Eastern JV (due to begin in summer 2020, when Virgin joins the wider Europe-China JV operated by Air France-KLM and China Eastern). The JV also has more capacity than the previous market leader, Air China.

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