Air Canada and Air China Limited today announced that the airlines have concluded a memorandum of understanding setting out the main principles for a comprehensive revenue sharing joint venture providing for an enhanced partnership on routes between Canada and China which will stimulate traffic growth between the two countries. The joint venture will generate additional service and pricing benefits for consumers travelling between the two countries as well as provide for enhanced cooperation between the two carriers in the areas of sales, marketing and airport operations. The announcement was made in Beijing during an official visit toChina by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, prior to a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) member nations.
Subject to Air Canada and Air China making the necessary filings, obtaining competition and other regulatory approvals and finalizing documentation, the joint venture is expected to come into effect by the end of 2015.
“Working cooperatively with our partner Air Canada, we will be able to provide more travel options and benefits for customers travelling between China and Canada while reducing travel times through a more streamlined travel experience,” said Song Zhiyong, President and Executive Director of Air China Limited. “This joint venture between Air China and Air Canada will provide many benefits and commercial synergies on the important and growing market for travel and trade between Canada and China. Over the past five years the Canada-China air travel market has grown on average by almost 11 per cent annually and this trend is expected to remain strong according to airline industry trade group IATA.”
“As members of Star Alliance, Air Canada and Air China will benefit from a revenue sharing joint venture, as have our customers through a simplified travel experience and loyalty rewards,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada, in Beijing to sign the memorandum of understanding. “By deepening our cooperation in the areas of scheduling and sales management, the carriers will be better able to serve customers by offering more travel options. The joint venture will provide customers of both carriers additional travel options through the expansion of codeshare flights to additional airports in both carriers’ domestic networks as network growth is a core principle of the joint venture.”
Currently, Air China offers its customers codeshare flights operated by Air Canada between Vancouver and six Canadian cities (Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) and Air Canada offers its customers codeshare flights operated by Air China between Beijing and six cities in China (Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenyang,Wuhan and Xi’an).
Air Canada operates up to a total of 28 flights per week between Canada and China, from Toronto and Vancouver to and from Beijing and Shanghai. Air China operates up to 11 flights per week between Beijing and Vancouver.