Air China & Air Canada Sign First China-N.A. Airline JV
Open Jaw, Bruce Parkinson
Air Canada and Air China have signed the first joint venture agreement between a Chinese and North American airline, deepening the longstanding partnership between the two carriers.
The announcement was made at a ceremony in Beijing attended by Jianjiang Cai, Chairman of Air China; Zhiyong Song, President of Air China; and Calin Rovinescu, President & Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.
The joint venture enables the two countries' flag carriers and Star Alliance members to expand an existing codeshare relationship and deepen it by increasing commercial cooperation on flights between Canada and China and on key connecting domestic flights in both countries.
"The Sino-Canada market is one of the important long-haul markets to Air China, which has been developed rapidly in recent years with an increase of 17.8% in 2017. Air China and Air Canada as Star Alliance members have the foundation of a profound cooperation and under a Joint Venture framework will offer a wider range of products and quality services, and provide more flexible flight choices, favourable fare products and seamless travel experiences for customers," said Jianjiang Cai, Chairman of Air China Limited.
"Our joint venture agreement with Air China, the highly-respected flag carrier of the People's Republic of China, is an important strategy in our global expansion as it significantly increases Air Canada's presence in an aviation market set to become the world's largest by 2022,” said AC CEO Calin Rovinescu.
“Having served China for more than 30 years, and as demonstrated by Air Canada's average annual capacity growth of 12.5% over five years and the $2 billion of aircraft assets currently committed on routes between Canada and China, China is an integral part of our global network."
As the joint venture is phased in over the course of the next six months, the airlines say customers will see “flexible flight choices, favourable fare products and seamless travel experiences, optimized flight schedules, harmonized fare products, joint sales including corporate and marketing programs, aligned frequent flyer privileges, reciprocal lounge access and an overall enhanced travel experience.”
The carriers' recently expanded code-share, effective 5MAY, increases the number of Canada-China connecting flight opportunities for customers by 564 each day. In DEC 2017, CA and AC implemented an expanded reciprocal lounge agreement for customers and introduced the airlines' first joint frequent flyer promotion for their respective PhoenixMiles and Aeroplan members.
In the last two years, Air China has launched flights directly linking Beijing with Montreal, and Air Canada has launched new non-stop flights between Montreal and Shanghai to meet growth in demand. The two carriers now operate up to a total of 52 trans-Pacific flights per week between Canada and China from Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal to and from Beijing and Shanghai.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.