American Airlines and China Southern Airlines plan to launch a codeshare and interline partnership later this year, following the former’s move to invest $200 million in the latter.

American customers will be able to connect to 40 destinations in China beyond Beijing, and 30 destinations beyond Shanghai on China Southern when the codeshare begins, the Fort Worth-based Oneworld Alliance carrier says in a statement today.

China Southern passengers will be able to connect to 80 destinations in the Americas beyond Los Angeles, New York John F Kennedy and San Francisco, American adds.

“China Southern’s extensive network within China touches developing and thriving markets that only a Chinese carrier can reach,” says Robert Isom, president of American, in a statement. “We are two of the biggest carriers in the world and our networks are highly complementary, with the potential to offer China Southern and American customers an unmatched range of destinations in two critical markets for business and leisure travellers.”

American does not say whether it plans to seek a strategic partnership with China Southern, which is a member of the SkyTeam Alliance.

China and the USA do not have open skies, barring the two carriers from seeking a joint venture.

American plans to invest $200 million in China Southern’s Hong Kong-listed shares for a 2.68% stake in the carrier. The deal is subject to approval by Chinese regulators.

American serves Beijing and Shanghai from its Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles hubs, while China Southern serves Los Angeles, New York JFK and San Francisco from its Guangzhou hub.

Neither American nor China Southern comment on whether the latter could join Oneworld or end its codeshare with Delta Air Lines.

Delta forged a strategic partnership with China Eastern Airlines in September 2015, after investing $450 million in the carrier.

Air China and United Airlines also have a strategic partnership but no equity shareholdings.

Source: Cirium Dashboard