Qatar Airways To Begin Codesharing With China Southern

News emerged recently that China’s largest airline, China Southern Airlines, has agreed to a codeshare deal with Qatar Airways. The as-yet unapproved codeshare agreement will enter into force on 15th January 2020. It will increase the number of destinations available to purchase on China Southern’s website as it expands its offering out of the Middle East.

A China Southern Airbus A380
China Southern will be partnering with Qatar Airways to provide its customers with a greater selection of destinations. Photo: Sergey Kustov via Wikimedia Commons

News of another major airline codeshare agreement emerged recently, as China’s largest carrier, China Southern Airlines, announced plans for cooperation with prestigious Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways. Although the codeshare agreement between the two has not yet received regulatory approval, it should enter into force from 15th January once confirmed.

As reported by Air Transport World, the agreement will open up an additional 80 routes out of Doha for China Southern passengers. It will set the basis for a “dual-hub“ strategy which will see Guangzhou and Beijing as the key domestic hubs for China Southern, supported by the Doha hub in the Middle East.

The partnership may seem a little strange, but Qatar Airways already has an interest in China Southern’s success.

On 2nd January, Qatar Airways revealed it had bought a 5% stake in China Southern Airlines back on 28 December 2018. While Qatar Airways owns small stakes in a number of airlines around the world, China Southern is its first within the important mainland Chinese market.

What does China Southern gain from the codeshare agreement?

A press statement released by China Southern Airlines outlines the main objectives of the deal. According to China Southern,

“This code-share agreement will further improve China Southern’s network in the Middle-East market and provide more diversified choices for passengers traveling with China Southern”.

A China Southern Boeing 787
China Southern has ambitious plans to become the largest airline in the world. Photo: Brian19891003 via Wikimedia Commons

As China’s largest airline, a strong secondary base from which to offer passengers additional journeys is a key expansion goal. In the press statement, China Southern also hints at the lessons in service standards and transfer experience it can gain from Qatar Airways.

China Southern has enjoyed a quick rise to the success, now ranking third in the world in terms of total fleet size, and aiming for first place in the near future.

What does Qatar Airways gain from the codeshare agreement?

Qatar Airways is significantly smaller than China Southern, with a fleet of around 250 aircraft, in comparison to China Southern’s 840. Qatar does not have the benefit of a massive domestic population to fill seats and flights to other destinations.

As a result, it relies on its leading service and business class offerings to attract customers.

A Qatar Airways Boeing 777
Qatar Airways is widely regarded as one of the top airlines in the world. Photo: Eluveitie via Wikimedia Commons

It also relies on its prime location between Africa, Asia and Europe to serve as an inter-regional hub. In a press statement released by Qatar Airways, Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said,

“This codeshare agreement is the natural first step in us working together and leveraging our complementary strengths and resources to bring benefits to customers of both our airlines”.

It seems air travel in the Chinese market is really starting to kick off now, as shown by the recent opening of Beijing’s enormous new Daxing International Airport.