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.
China and Australia remove airline growth restrictions as China cautiously embraces open skies
China has agreed to liberalise passenger flights and remove capacity restrictions with Australia, its largest outbound long haul market after the United States. This is a relief to Chinese airlines, which face bilateral constraints in North America and Europe. The result is already evident as Chinese airlines deploy more capacity and larger aircraft to Australia.
In North American and European markets the local governments hold back on traffic right expansion (let alone open skies). But for Australia it was the Australian government, which signalled some years ago that it wanted to liberalise once China was ready – a time that has now come.
Australia's view was progressive and detached from bygone days of national carrier interest; Chinese airlines hold 90% of the market to Australia. Elsewhere many governments still hold back on Chinese traffic right expansion so their local airlines can continue to grow. There are 15 Chinese airports that have nonstop flights to Australia with a total of 27 airport pairs – figures that should expand in 2017 as the market evolves further with the Virgin Australia-HNA partnership.