Star Alliance has signed a Connecting Partner agreement with Shanghai based carrier Juneyao Airlines, which will come into effect from next year.

As the name suggests, the Connecting Partner model allows airlines to connect to the Star Alliance network, without having to become a full member.

Members travelling on an itinerary which includes a transfer between a Star Alliance carrier and a Connecting Partner will enjoy “standard Alliance benefits such as passenger and baggage through check-in”, as well “a tailored set of privileges in line with the product offerings of the individual Connecting Partner” for Star Alliance Gold members.

In the case of Juneyao, Star Alliance Gold members will benefit from lounge access, fast-track security, additional baggage allowance, and priority check-in, boarding, standby and baggage delivery.

The alliance said that “Work has now commenced to establish the necessary technology and commercial links which will allow Juneyao Airlines to begin serving Star Alliance connecting passengers some time during the second quarter 2017”.

Star also said that “Connecting Partners will enter into bilateral commercial agreements with selected Star Alliance member airlines, which may include Frequent Flyer Programme based privileges”.

Commenting on the agreement Mark Schwab, CEO Star Alliance said:

“Juneyao Airlines is a terrific addition to our network proposition in China and particularly in the Shanghai market.

“Thanks to Juneyao’s expanding reach, our passengers will enjoy a wide choice of flight connections through our future partner to numerous Chinese metropoles and several international destinations.”

A total of 17 of Star Alliance’s 28 members currently operate services into and out of the two Shanghai airports served by Juneyao Airlines (Pudong International and Hongqiao International).

Juneyao started operations in 2006, and operates a fleet of 56 A320 aircraft, targeting “middle-to-high-level official, business and leisure markets” on routes including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau and Taipei.

The Star Alliance Connecting Partner programme was launched last year to allow low-cost carriers and hybrid airlines to connect to the network.

At the time South African budget carrier Mango was announced as the first partner.,