Foreign airlines team with e-travel firms to connect Chinese tourists
Collaboration with e-commerce companies has become a big trend in the aviation industry recently as more airlines announce cooperation deals with e-travel sites.
On Wednesday, Lufthansa Group signed a cooperation agreement with Chinese online travel search engine qunar.com in Beijing. The company said passengers using the website can now enjoy the same prices as those listed on the official websites of Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines.
This is the second cooperation deal the company has signed with a Chinese online travel platform in less than a week.
On October 24, the group announced a strategic cooperation agreement with Alibaba Group's travel platform fliggy.
The airline has also launched its official online flagship store with the Chinese tech giant.
But Lufthansa is not alone.
On October 26, Finnair signed a memorandum of understanding with JD.com Inc (JD), one of the largest online retailers in China. This is the first time a foreign airline launched a flagship store on JD's travel service. The store will be launched early next year.
By then, consumers will be able to book Finnair flight tickets through JD, with the two parties also establishing a long-term strategic partnership in transport and marketing promotion.
Both Lufthansa and Finnair are deemed ''the aged airlines'', with Finnair starting the route from Helsinki to Beijing in 1988. Currently, it operates six direct routes to and from China and plans to start its Nanjing route, located in East China's Jiangsu Province, in May 2018.
Latest figures from the Civil Aviation Administration of China show that 4.54 million passengers flew to European countries from China in the first three quarters of this year, up 19.8 percent from the same period last year. It seems that collaborating with online travel companies was a smart choice for the overseas airlines in terms of attracting more Chinese consumers.
Looking at the current foreign airline collaborations with online Chinese travel sites, it is clear that the relationship between the two parties has changed substantially in recent times.
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