Taipei, 14 September 2010 - China Airlines, the flag carrier of Taiwan, today formally announced the start of its joining process leading to full entry into the SkyTeam Airline Alliance. The process is expected to be completed by mid-2011. The announcement comes just a few months after China Eastern signed an agreement to join SkyTeam. The addition of China Airlines to the alliance complements the well anchored position of China Southern, solidifying the unrivalled presence of SkyTeam in Greater China. With China Airlines as a partner, SkyTeam customers will benefit from further improved access to SkyTeam’s extensive Asia Pacific network.
Headquartered in Taipei, China Airlines is the largest airline of Taiwan, home to one of the world’s most dynamic technology-driven economies that also possesses abundant tourism opportunities and booming aviation industry prospects.
During an official ceremony in Taipei, China Airlines’ President Huang-Hsiang Sun, joined the CEOs and representatives of SkyTeam member airlines in signing an Adherence Agreement, thus formally starting the process of China Airlines joining SkyTeam. The signing ceremony took place at National Concert Hall in Taipei, witnessed by Chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board Leo van Wijk, Managing Director of SkyTeam Marie-Joseph Malé and Chairman Liu Shaoyong of future member China Eastern.
“The inclusion of China Airlines in our network will solidify SkyTeam’s unrivalled presence in the Greater China market, a region that continues to experience significant economic growth,” said Leo van Wijk. “In addition to the services provided by our existing members, China Airlines offers an extensive cross-strait operation, linking Taiwan to multiple major destinations in China. Also, Taipei will serve as an alternative Asian hub with services to and from key business destinations in the region.”
"Joining SkyTeam is a long-term development strategy for China Airlines, and for many years we have been actively promoting various types of cooperation with SkyTeam member airlines with this objective in mind. As the first Taiwanese airline to join the world-class alliance, our strategic target is to continuously strengthen profitability and boost international market competitiveness," said China Airlines Chairman Philip Wei.
Mr. Malé added: “We are honored and delighted to welcome China Airlines in our midst. We now enter a phase where China Airlines will work closely together with the current members to establish bilateral agreements and fulfill the more than 100 membership requirements. We rely in particular on our Asian members to use their advanced experience in the alliance to guide China Airlines in the joining process and expect our newest member to effectively join SkyTeam around mid 2011”.
Maximizing the Greater Chinese, Asian and global network
The China Airlines network will complement those of Guangzhou-based China Southern and Shanghai-based China Eastern. Cooperation among these three SkyTeam family members will further consolidate SkyTeam’s unparalleled strong position in Greater China. As the largest passenger and cargo airline providing services between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the addition of China Airlines to SkyTeam will mark a major milestone in Taiwan’s efforts to become one of Asia’s leading air transport and business hubs.
SkyTeam will greatly benefit from expanding its regional network in the region. Out of the 93 international routes, China Airlines will bring four new destinations to the network; Okinawa, Miyazaki, Surabaya and Palau. From a global standpoint, adding a fifth Asian carrier will help SkyTeam in connecting Greater China, Asia’s up-and-coming economic powerhouse, to the rest of the world. The China Airlines extensive route network covers Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, and will help customers connect to flights of SkyTeam partners worldwide.
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About China Airlines
Since it was founded in 1959, China Airlines has consistently been Taiwan’s largest airline company and one of Asia’s leading carriers. China Airlines presently serves 93 destinations in 28 countries and regions worldwide with a fleet of the world’s most advanced aircraft, offering comfortable and safe service. As of the end of August 2010, China Airlines operates 66 aircraft, including 46 passenger jets and 20 freighters. The average age of China Airlines’ fleet is just 7.9 years.
SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam member airlines offer customers over 420 lounges worldwide. The thirteen members are: Aeroflot, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM Romanian Air Transport and Vietnam Airlines. SkyTeam offers its 385 million annual passengers a worldwide system of over 12,500 daily flights to 898 destinations in 169 countries. SkyTeam celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2010. www.skyteam.com