LONDON – China Southern Airlines and Qatar Airways have announced their codeshare agreement, which is expected to start in January 2020.

This announcement is a further move to tighten ties between the two carriers after Qatar Airways acquired 5% of China Southern Airlines in December 2018.

The news comes after Qatar’s recently launched destinations, including Rabat, Morocco; Izmir, Turkey; Malta; Davao, Philippines; Lisbon, Portugal; and Mogadishu, Somalia.

The addition of China Southern Airlines’ route network to Qatar’s via the codeshare means their customers will have access to a wide range of destinations from Beijing and Guangzhou.

Photo: Clément Alloing

On the flip side for China Southern Airlines’ passengers, they will have the ability to book to over 80 more destinations, connecting via Doha, Qatar Airlines’ hub airport.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, commented on this deal which will expand the airline’s Asian takings.

“In December 2018 when we announced our investment in China Southern Airlines, I noted the significant potential for cooperation between our two prestigious airlines. This codeshare agreement is the natural first step in us working together and leveraging our complementary strengths and resources to bring benefits to customers of both our airlines.”

“Qatar Airways very much looks forward to the opportunity to further deepen our working relationship with this great airline and further enhance the travel opportunities for passengers across the globe.”

Qatar first entered the Chinese market in 2003, with a service from Doha to Shanghai. Since then over time, the Qatar Airlines Chinese operation has grown to 45 flights per week to seven destinations in China, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.

China Southern Airlines Senior Vice President of International and Corporate Relations, Mr Wu Guoxiang also commented on the deal, expressing happiness over this secured deal.

Alan Wilson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“We are very pleased to have Qatar Airways as our codeshare partner. As a Skytrax Five-Star airline, Qatar Airways’ high service quality and the massive network is very impressive.”

“Through the efficient Hamad International Airport, with its first-rate service, passengers of China Southern Airlines will be able to enjoy the pleasant service to Doha. We very much look forward to enhancing our cooperation in the future and working together to bring more benefits to our customers.”

It remains clear that this deal will signify a boost in portfolio expansion for both sides, with China Southern benefitting mainly from the domestic takings on the Qatar Airways side.

It will also boost international takings for both sides, especially for Qatar Airways as it aims to expand to 250 destinations before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, being hosted in Doha.

It will be interesting to see how this deal will formulate when it goes into effect, and whether we could see more route additions from both sides going into the future.