Air China has signed a major new agreement that will expand its coverage in Canada.
Under a new Memorandum of Understanding, Air China and Air Canada have agreed to enter into a revenue sharing joint venture which they say will “stimulate traffic growth between the two countries”. The two national carriers will cooperate in areas including sales, marketing and airport operations.
The announcement was made in Beijing during an official visit to China by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Subject to regulatory approvals, the joint venture is expected to come into effect by the end of 2015.
“Working cooperatively with our partner Air Canada, we will be able to provide more travel options and benefits for customers travelling between China and Canada while reducing travel times through a more streamlined travel experience,” said Song Zhiyong, president & executive director of Air China.
“This joint venture between Air China and Air Canada will provide many benefits and commercial synergies on the important and growing market for travel and trade between Canada and China.”
Currently Air China and Air Canada, which are both members of the Star Alliance, operate 39 weekly flights between the two countries. Air Canada offers 28 flights per week from Toronto and Vancouver to and from Beijing and Shanghai, while Air China operates up to 11 flights per week between Beijing and Vancouver. The airlines already codeshare on each others’ trans-Pacific services, as well as on domestic routes within China and Canada.
“As members of Star Alliance, Air Canada and Air China will benefit from a revenue sharing joint venture, as have our customers through a simplified travel experience and loyalty rewards,” said Calin Rovinescu, president & CEO of Air Canada.
“By deepening our cooperation in the areas of scheduling and sales management, the carriers will be better able to serve customers by offering more travel options. The joint venture will provide customers of both carriers additional travel options through the expansion of codeshare flights to additional airports in both carriers’ domestic networks as network growth is a core principle of the joint venture.”
Over the past five years the Canada-China air travel market has grown on average by almost 11% per year.