China Southern left Skyteam late last year. As one of the world’s largest airlines by fleet size, with plans to become the world’s largest, this was an interesting development for China Southern. Now, it seems that much of China Southern’s future plans shaped the rationale for the carrier to leave Skyteam.
China Southern first joined Skyteam back in 2007. At the time, they were the first mainland Chinese carrier to join the Skyteam alliance. However, by the time they left, there was another major Chinese carrier in Skyteam: China Eastern. This was one of the reasons China Southern decided to leave Skyteam.
China Southern left the Skyteam alliance in order to pursue partnerships and cooperation with airlines that extend outside of the alliance itself. Though China Southern was the first mainland Chinese carrier to join Skyteam, they didn’t receive much love from what could be a fighting force in the region. Instead, major alliance members Delta and Air France-KLM chose to instead partner much more closely with Shanghai-based China Eastern.
China Southern saw additional opportunities outside of Skyteam. So, given the costs associated with being in the alliance and the lack of support from other members, it became clear that China Southern’s future was outside the alliance. Indeed, after leaving Skyteam, China Southern and American Airlines forged a much closer partnership. This is lucrative for American Airlines since they don’t have much of a slice of the Chinese market.
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