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China Southern eyes further collaboration with American Airlines

China Southern Airlines says there is potential for further collaboration with American Airlines, and that it is open to bring private investors into the carrier.

In a televised interview, the airline's vice-chairman and president Tan Wan Geng says that the market between China and the US "is the biggest", and hence it wants more support from its American partner.

"This is the reason why we set the cooperation strategy relationship with American Airlines. It's just the beginning. In the future, China Southern will fly more to the US, and American Airlines will fly more to China," says Tan.

"I do think we have a lot of potential to cooperate."

This is in-line with the airline's plan for a "double-hub" strategy once the new Beijing Daxing airport becomes operational. The carrier has said that it expects to base 250 aircraft at the new airport by 2025, with plans for intercontinental services to North America and Europe.

Earlier this month, FlightGlobal reported that China Southern has had internal discussions about the possibility of leaving the SkyTeam alliance, following closer collaboration with Oneworld member American.

American closed a $200 million investment for a 2.68% stake in China Southern in August. That followed Delta Air Lines' $450 million purchase of a 3.55% stake in China Eastern Airlines in September 2015.

Asked if the carrier would consider bringing in private investors, Tan says: "For that kind of mixture we have to be very careful because this concerns employees and there is a lot of very sensitive matter. But I think we will do."

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