September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
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21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Air China and Shanghai Airlines have joined the Star Alliance, bringing the number of member airlines to 19 and boosting its reach across the region.
”China is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and as of today we offer an unrivalled network of flight connections to, from, and within this market for international travellers,” said Star Alliance CEO Jaan Albrecht.
Flag-carrier Air China is the official airline partner of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the capital”s airport is an important hub for domestic and international flights.
”We will offer the business traveller better connections into China ” to around 40 destinations which we weren”t able to offer before - and services will be improved with the opening of the new terminals at Beijing and Shanghai-Pudong,” said a Star Alliance spokesman.
Beijing Terminal 3 is scheduled to open in March 2008 and will be the base for all Star Alliance carriers, meaning smoother transits for passengers. At the same time a second terminal opens at Shanghai-Pudong, again allowing all members to operate from the same building.
”On the Frequent Flyer side there are obvious benefits too - team members can now collect and redeem air miles on these two airlines,” said the spokesman.
Plus, miles collected on flights operated by all Star Alliance airlines will count towards achieving either Air China Platinum, Gold or Silver status, or Crane Club Gold or Silver on Shanghai Airlines.
”We are very excited that we can from now on serve as a bridge between China and the world via its Shanghai hub,” said chairman of Shanghai Airlines, Zhou Chi.
”We can expand our network to reach more points around the world and deliver higher quality services and more rewards to customers.”
Asia is set to become the world”s biggest air-travel market. Last year air passengers took 179m trips in China (135m domestic and 44m international) and the figure increases by around 15% a year, with the Beijing Olympics expected to boost it higher still next year. By 2010 it is predicted 270m trips will be taken.
In the next three years China”s Civil Aviation Administration has said it will build more than 42 new airports and upgrade others, spending $17bn (”8.3bn), and Chinese carriers are set to double the size of their fleets to total 1,500 by 2010, and then 4,000 by 2025.
China has a population of more than one billion and with a booming economy, it looks set to become one of the largest sources of world travellers.
As Air China chairman Li Jiaxiang says: ”The world”s fastest growing and largest airline alliance has arrived in the world”s fastest growing country.”