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oneworld rumoured to be courting China Southern

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Four years after it resigned from the SkyTeam airline alliance, there are renewed rumours that China Southern may join the oneworld grouping. This would make it an Avios earning and redemption partner.

The move was expected back in 2020, once the airline had fully unwound itself from SkyTeam, but obviously the pandemic got in the way.

American Airlines and Qatar Airways, both oneworld members, are shareholders in China Southern. It also has a Joint Business Agreement with British Airways.

China Southern A380

This latest rumour comes via a Bloomberg story last week (paywall) which claims that British Airways and American Airlines are leading the push to win over both the airline and fellow oneworld members.

Talks have, unsurprisingly, been complicated by the difficulties of getting in and out of China to conduct negotiations.

Whilst oneworld is lacking a mainland Chinese carrier, it does have Cathay PacificChina Southern has a major hub in Guangzhou which is on Hong Kong’s doorstep and would create complications.  If a deal went through it would provide a new set of Avios redemption options for getting from Europe to Asia.

Even if true, don’t expect this story to lead to any quick change. It tends to take 12-18 months for alliance memberships to launch from the day they are announced, and even this depends on trouble-free IT integration.

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Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Graeme says:

    No BA I’m not flying LHR to BKK via CAN…

  • John T says:

    China Southern is a nasty airline and no one in their right mind would ever choose to fly it over Cathay.

  • Joe says:

    Having endured a few China Southern long haul and short haul flights I can assure you their joining One World is not something to get remotely excited about. Without question the worst airline food I have ever experienced – seriously pick the vegetarian option as the generic ‘meat’ would not be considered suitable as pet food here. Think knuckles, gristle and blood vessels.

    Guangzhou airport, while huge, is the pits. It reeks of cigarette smoke, coughs and damp and there is absolutely nothing to do apart from walk along a very long corridor while you curse yourself for choosing a sub-standard airline because it was marginally cheaper than an airline that knows what it’s doing.

    Essentially, it’s a very poor all round experience. I can’t see why anyone would choose to fly China Southern via CAN when you can fly Cathay via Hong Kong and have a much better experience.


  • CamFlyer says:

    In contrast, we had a very positive experience flying China Southern PEK-CAN-MEL-SZX-PEK in J pre-COVID. The hard product was good enough. We thought the food was good, though very Chinese and not for the faint hearted (in comparison to BA LHR-PEK, which was quite mediocre). Service was also very Chinese, with limited English competency, but well intentioned. On that basis it wouldn’t be my first choice, but if the schedule and price worked (as it did for us) I wouldn’t shy away. I’m not sure about the experience in Y, however.

  • mark2 says:

    10+ years ago my niece flew to Australia on China Southern.
    She spent her time there dreading the flight home!

    • lumma says:

      I did Air China once for £300 return. I learned for the return flights to make sure that I had plenty of snacks and drinks in my hand luggage as they were extremely tight when it came to giving anything at all out. Thimbles of Pepsi, red wine, etc.

      IFE was terrible too, like half a dozen old films in English and any TV shows were one episode only.

    • flyforfun says:

      I had people at work do that too, they bought one way tickets with another airline they were so traumatised!! That was only 5 years ago.

  • CW says:

    They do have a vast domestic network, just a shame that their base is too close to HK where Cathay is. Would have been better to see a Beijing or Shanghai based airline (Air China or China Eastern respectively) joining but they are firmly in their respective alliances.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    The odd thing was when all the other airlines in T3 and T4 were moved due to covid that CZ was allocated T5. It seemed odd at the time (I still thought it was SkyTeam). I don’t know if CZ operated any flights from T5 (are they flying to the UK yet?) but there’s still some signage remaining in T5C.

    • ABS says:

      They did operate a few flights out of T5 (I think it was weekly or every fortnight) and the Heathrow website did state that they were still operating out of T5 until very recently. I’ve just checked and it states T4 again when they do re-start operations.

      You’ll also be able to see some Qatar Airlines and AA signage and equipment near reclaim 10 in T5 it just hasn’t been removed.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        AA and IB are still mentioned as being able to access the BA lounges in T5. I wonder if CZ had arranged any lounge access for the few flights they did actually run.

  • Jonathan says:

    On some organised tours I’ve been very recently, there’ve been other travellers in the group who said that they’ve lived in China, and don’t really like living there very much, they didn’t go into any details

    Airlines like China Southern probably get at a large volume of their trade from Chinese nationals, so they won’t be too familiar in having many people from western nations

    Did anyone try that sweet spot with VS points on one of the two other (main) Chinese airlines, it was frequently mentioned, and a bitter blow when the redemption BA came unavailable due to the ending of agreements between the two airlines, although the ANA option appeared not too long afterwards, just a shame both countries the planes went to have been largely inaccessible for years for short stay visitors to say the least

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