China Southern wants US carriers to press for joint ventures

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China Southern Airlines believes carriers in the USA should attempt to persuade competition regulators to allow joint ventures with their Chinese counterparts to spur liberalisation.

If US regulators were to grant anti-trust immunity to such relationships, open skies between the two countries would inevitably follow, said China Southern's senior vice-president of international affairs and alliances Zhao Xiaosong.

"They would stimulate each other," he said during the Airline Business Alliances, Joint Ventures and Partnerships conference in Istanbul, adding that airlines should follow the framework of the World Trade Organisation in their approach to liberalising air traffic.

Joint ventures between airlines are gaining traction in Asia, with Japan's All Nippon Airways recently securing anti-trust immunity to add Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines to its European venture with Lufthansa.