Oneworld left hanging after China Eastern decision

China Eastern with aircraft.jpgChina Eastern Airlines’ decision to join SkyTeam leaves Oneworld as the only alliance without a member in China, one of the world’s most lucrative and fastest growing markets.

Sure, it has Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific on China’s doorsteps but even that will not be enough in the coming years. Cathay’s increasingly close relationship with Air China, a Star Alliance member that is looking like the bigger partner of the two, may also be a concern.

Hainan Airlines, China’s largest privately-owned carrier and the fourth largest in the country, has applied to join Oneworld. But it is not the same – Hainan just does not have the reach of the big three.

For SkyTeam, adding two out of the three major Chinese carriers in its fold is a coup – Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines is already a member.

The decision is also a strategic one for the Chinese carriers, which will be able to align their moves against the larger Air China, which is slowly but surely moving into their turf.

Could a merger between China Eastern and China Southern be the next step?

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One Response to Oneworld left hanging after China Eastern decision

  1. Paul 16 April, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    Why did the airplane cross the road? ;-)

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