China Southern Airlines (China Southern) will join the Sky Team Alliance (STA) before the end of the year, the first Chinese airline to join an international air service alliance.
Liu Shaoyong, general manager of China Southern, made the announcement at the on-going summit between Chinese airlines and the STA.
The STA is one of the world's top three airline alliances, with members operating up to 15,000 daily flights. Its members include Air France, Korean Airlines and Air Mexico.
Vice Director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) Li Jian told the summit that China Southern's move shows that indicates China's airlines are upgrading their management and service quality in accordance with international standards.
Liu said to meet STA's requirements, China Southern has spent the last ten months upgrading its service facilities, standards and procedures. In June 2006, China Southern signed a GAAAA agreement (an agreement to observe relevant rules) with the STA.
At the summit, 18 Chinese airports, including Beijing Capital Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, discussed issues such as passenger transfer and standardization of ground services. Airport spokesmen supported moves by Chinese airlines to join international airline alliances.
Airline experts said, as China's number one passenger carrier, China Southern will be able to offer passengers more convenient services after joining the STA.
The summit -- the first to be held in China by an international airline organization -- was jointly sponsored by China Southern and the STA.