FRANKFURT”•German airline Lufthansa and Air China said on Tuesday they had signed a deal to jointly operate all the groups’ connections between Europe and China.
“The Chinese aviation market is one of the most important growth markets worldwide. We want to profit from this growth together,” Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement.
The Chinese flag carrier and Lufthansa, Europe’s largest airline, have had a joint venture in their sights since signing a memorandum of understanding in 2014.
The move is “another major step of Air China’s globalization strategy,” chairman Cai Jianjiang said.
Added to Lufthansa’s other co-operations, including with Japan’s ANA and Singapore Airlines in Asia, and United Airlines and Air Canada in north America, the joint venture means around half of the German giant’s long-haul flights are now covered by such agreements.
The two groups plan to coordinate their schedules, offer common fares and improve their offers to corporate clients and frequent flyers under the arrangement.
As well as Lufthansa itself, the deal covers subsidiaries Austrian Airlines and Swiss International Airlines.
Passengers traveling into Europe from China will be able to connect through the Lufthansa group’s hubs in Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna, while the two firms promised “additional routes in China” with Air China and via code-sharing for those travelling in the other direction.