In a ceremony at the Wuzhou Guest House in Shenzhen, China, Jaan Albrecht, chief executive of Star Alliance, and president of Shenzhen Airlines, Feng Gang, signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise the admission of another major Mainland Chinese member into the global alliance.
Calling the occasion "the right decision at the right time", Albrecht said: "Shenzhen Airlines is the fifth largest airline in China operating from the fifth busiest airport in the country. In conjunction with Air China, we will be growing our customer offering especially in the southern part of China."
Air China, also a Star Alliance member, owns 51 percent of Shenzhen Airlines, with the other shareholder being Total Logistics (Shenzhen) Co.
Gang enthused that joining the alliance will help his airline implement its strategy of "establishing itself as a strong brand across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. With Star Alliance, we can reach anywhere in the world."
Shenzhen Airlines will add five new Chinese destinations to the Star Alliance network, namely Juzhou (Zhejiang), Linyi, Qinhuangdao, Shijiazhuang and Zhoushan. As a result, the network will be expanded to 32 carrier offering 23,000 daily flights to 1,315 destinations in 190 countries. Full integration is expected for the end of 2012.
Commencing operations in September 1993, Shenzhen Airlines serves some 70 locations on the Chinese mainland as well as Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Osaka, Tokyo and Seoul with a fleet of 102 passenger and cargo aircraft, specifically Boeing 747s and 737s, and Airbus 320s and 319s.
The carrier offers more than 200 domestic and international routes from six bases, with Shenzhen and Guangzhou being the two largest. The airline aims to expand the fleet to at least 180 passenger aircraft by the end of 2015.
The airline has even more to look forward to, as Shenzhen International Airport is planning to start testing its second runway later this month. It is expected to be in full operation by the end of the year. The new Terminal 3 will also open soon after.
Shenzhen Airlines takes up 43.8 percent of the city's air travel business and served 15.9 million passengers last year. The airport expansion means the company can hope to maintain its robust growth, which averages 22.2 per cent annually.
For more information visit www.shenzhenair.com.
Report by Reggie Ho