PHOTO: Emirates.

Article Written by Thomas Saunders

LONDON – Emirates is adding its 24th partner to their network of codeshare airlines after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with China Southern (CZ).

This will enable easy connectivity to Chinese domestic flights, adding eight more cities on to the Emirates network. 

These cities include Fuzhou, Chongqing, Kunming, Qingdao, Xiamen, Chengdu, Nanjing and Xi ‘an initially, provided the necessary government approvals can be obtained.

Boeing 777-200LR Paine Field Exclusively For Emirates Air by Erik Hildebrandt utilizing his own proprietary MachPod aerial imaging system mounted on the Wolfe Air Aviation, Ltd. Lear 25B camera ship.

The UAE has no visa requirement for Chinese visitors, therefore, not only can passengers enjoy a quick transfer on to the Emirates’ Middle East network, they can also enjoy a longer stopover in Dubai for their connection, allowing them to experience the city before their onward travels.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, commented on this arrangement, adding emphasis on its Chinese presence.

“We’re pleased to establish a partnership with China Southern Airlines, allowing Emirates’ customers to benefit from increased choice, flexibility and ease of connection to different cities across China’s provinces, by connecting in Guangzhou.”

Photo: Glenn Beltz

“The addition of the eight domestic routes in the initial stage expands our reach in China, beyond the three Chinese hub cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou,” he added.

Kazim noted that “In addition to enhancing our global network, China Southern’s customers will be able to seamlessly travel to destinations within the Middle East and Africa and beyond on a single ticket.”

Han Wensheng, COO of China Southern Air also emphasized how important Emirates’ partnership is for reaching the Middle East and beyond.

“Strengthening cooperation is the long-term strategy of China Southern. Emirates is our first bi-directional partner in the Middle East, and we are very pleased to enter into a codeshare partnership with Emirates,” he said.

Wensheng noted that this codeshare agreement signifies a key step for China Southern in the process of building new international partnerships, which have been rapidly expanding since the airline left the SkyTeam Alliance last year.

“While codesharing is only the start of our cooperation, cooperative opportunities in a wider range of fields such as freight, frequent flyer benefits, lounge access, and airport collaboration will be explored in the future,” he added.

Including current codeshares, Emirates customers can now visit over 160 destinations in the Asian Pacific area. 

From the China Southern perspective, this codeshare agreement with Emirates signifies a tremendous addition to its global ambitions. In January, the airline began its extended relationship with American Airlines, which will see both carriers codesharing on additional routes beyond key gateways in China and the United States. 

Both airlines announced this tight interaction in November 2018, in which a code-share agreement would place the AA code on all of China Southern’s flights to and from the United States, and viceversa. Moreover, both carriers will place their codes on each of their extended domestic services.

With this agreement, the reach of both airlines grows exponentially. China Southern and American Airlines are the largest airlines in their countries, boasting 594 and 951 airplanes in their fleets, respectively.

Overall, with Emirates and American Airlines as China Southern’s new partners, it represents a huge network that most other airlines do not have, so the further outreach of the Emirates network should only add to the number of passengers flying with the carrier.