China's Shanghai Airlines has been invited to join the Star Alliance. The carrier is recognised as one of the better airlines flying within mainland China. It serves over 150 domestic and regional destinations using a 44-strong fleet of mainly Boeing jets from its Shanghai base.
This development must be considered good news for Star Alliance passengers making transfers at major hubs like Shanghai. Over the past couple of years it has become increasingly easier to fly into mainland China but transferring to a domestic connection has been a chore because of cultural differences.
It will be some time before Shanghai Airlines becomes a full member of Star Alliance (a glance at the carrier's website shows the difficulty of the task ahead) but it will lead to easier reservations and connections at mainland Chinese gateways.
Says the carrier's Chairman Zhou, "With the development of Shanghai Pudong Airport, we should make full use of the airport resources, provide quick and convenient 'Under One Roof' transferring and connecting services. We hope that the establishment of the second terminal building in the near future will provide high-standard, high-quality and high-efficiency operating service."
From its home base Shanghai Airlines covers major domestic cities such as Beijing, Kunming, Shenzen and Xian. It also flies internationally to Bangkok, Phom Penh, Saigon and Osaka. It has recently applied to launch flights to Hong Kong.
Star Alliance members serving mainland China from Europe (both directly and indirectly) include ANA, Austrian, Lufthansa, SAS, SIA and Thai.
Report by Alex McWhirter