MIAMI — Lufthansa and Air China signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance their commercial partnership as part of a joint venture in Beijing this morning.

During a state visit, German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, Carsten Spohr, the Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and Mr. Song Zhiyong, President and Executive Director of Air China Limited, met to sign the deal.

Although Lufthansa and Air China have been connected as members of the Star Alliance, the companies expect this new arrangment to pave the way for the creation of a commercial joint venture and to add to the existing joint ventures with United Airlines and with Air Canada between Europe and North America (since 1998) and with ANA (since 2012) on routes between Europe and Japan.

In a press release, Lufthansa said “the new partnership agreement should come into force as early as the start of the winter flight timetable in late October 2014.”

“We are delighted that, together with Air China, we will be able to offer our customers, particularly those in Europe and China, even better flight connections and services in the future”, said Carsten Spohr at the signing of the memorandum of understanding on 7 July in Beijing. “Thanks to strategic partnerships with leading airlines, the Lufthansa Group airlines now connect the world’s four largest economies even better.”

The new joint venture will offer customers of both airlines a more varied product range and one that can be combined more flexibly. Plus, there will be additional travel options and flight connections, and there will collaboration in the area of maintenance, repair and overhaul services.