Shanghai Airlines invited to join Star Alliance, full membership seen in 2007


SHANGHAI (XFNews) - Shanghai Airlines Co Ltd said it has received the first invitation to a Chinese carrier for entry into the Star Alliance, and will likely become a full member within 12 months. Speaking at a news conference, officials from Shanghai Airlines, Star Alliance and its member airlines said they will work toward developing the second terminal of Shanghai's Pudong airport as one of two future alliance hubs in China. The second hub would be in Beijing with prospective future alliance member Air China, which has applied for membership. 

The invitation to Shanghai Airlines follows an application by the airline in November and full membership will come after the airline meets minimum requirements, Star Alliance chief executive Jean Albrecht said.

"We will be working with the management of Shanghai Airlines over the next 12 months in assisting them in meeting the minimum joining requirements and there will be a day in 2007, approximately 12 months time from today, when we will be back here in Shanghai to announce full membership and a full series of benefits to alliance passengers," he said.

Albrecht said the alliance was working with the airline to obtain more resources from airport authorities, specifically in establishing a 'collocation' terminal for the member airlines at the second terminal currently under construction.

"We are in the negotiation process and coordination process with the Shanghai authorities ... this is again a process that has to be thought over very carefully, it is about a long-term commitment from the carriers and a long-term commitment from the airport authorities," said Albrecht.

He added that he understood airport authorities would make an announcement this summer on allocation at the new terminal.

Albrecht said the alliance would seek a similar arrangement in Beijing. The alliance is currently in talks with Air China about extending membership.

"I am quite sure that we will be back in China in a matter of a few weeks to make an announcement about our membership invitation to Air China as part of the Star Alliance," he said.

Star Alliance comprises 18 airlines including United Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and Air Canada.

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