China Southern to Join Oneworld Alliance?
China Southern to Join Oneworld Alliance?

It has been reported that the Oneworld alliance may soon have a new member airline in China Southern. Based in Guangzhou, China Southern is one of the world’s largest airlines and flies to six Australian cities. Should China Southern join Oneworld, this would have significant implications for Australian frequent flyers.

China Southern is currently a member of the SkyTeam alliance, along with fellow Chinese airlines China Eastern and Xiamen Air. China Airlines, based in Taiwan, is also a SkyTeam member.

China is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing aviation markets. So it’s not surprising that SkyTeam enjoys a strong presence there. The other global airline alliance, Star Alliance, is also represented in China through Air China and Shenzhen Airlines. However, as yet there are no Oneworld member airlines based in mainland China.

One reason for this is Cathay Pacific. Based in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific has been a member of the Oneworld alliance since its inception in 1998. Given Cathay Pacific’s presence in China and proximity to China Southern’s Guangzhou hub, the move is clearly not in their interests. Guangzhou is barely 100km from Cathay Pacific’s hub of Hong Kong.

Should China Southern defect to Oneworld, there is some speculation that Cathay Pacific may move to Star Alliance. This would be bad news for Qantas’ frequent flyers as it would result in the loss of reciprocal frequent flyer benefits when flying Cathay Pacific. It would also mean that Qantas points could no longer be redeemed for Cathay Pacific flights.

Selfishly I kinda hope not as that could lead to CX leaving…

Qantas already has a partnership with Shanghai-based China Eastern. Qantas points can be earned and redeemed on China Eastern flights. Qantas also currently has limited codeshare arrangements with China Southern, however the partnership is not extensive. One member believes there would be no changes to the China Eastern arrangement should China Southern join Oneworld.

Don’t think it would necessarily change the QF/MU relationship. Eg QF/EK vs QR in oneworld

View the full discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Will China Southern (CZ) join Oneworld?


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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