British Airways has announced a new Joint Business Agreement with China Southern.
As we covered a year ago, China Southern has resigned from the SkyTeam airline alliance. This had been expected ever since American Airlines bought a stake in the carrier – a stake it has already written down by $50m (25%). It was assumed that China Southern would then apply for full oneworld membership, but for now it appears happy to strike bilateral deals with key oneworld members.
In the short term, little will change. British Airways has had a codeshare deal with China Southern since 2017. Stage 1 of the joint venture will see the codeshare extended to cover all direct flights between London and Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Domestic connections in the UK and China will be added later.
The key differences between the codeshare deal and the new Joint Business Agreement should be, based on precedent:
- the airlines will co-ordinate their schedules where both fly the same route
- the airlines will co-ordinate their schedules in order to match longhaul with connecting shorthaul flights
- the airlines will jointly set pricing on routes between the UK and China
- the airlines will jointly share all revenue on routes between the UK and China, irrespective of which airline carries the passenger
- passengers will be able to mix and match British Airways and China Southern tickets on return trips
- frequent flyer benefits will be fully aligned – this will mean that you will earn an identical number of Avios and tier points if you fly with China Southern or British Airways
I would also expect to see China Southern become a full Avios redemption partner.
The Joint Business Agreement officially starts on 2nd January although it will take some time to ramp up and for all of the features to go live.
You can learn more about the new partnership with China Southern on this page of ba.com. There is nothing yet on the ‘partner Avios and tier point earning and spending’ page.
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