China Southern to keep most SkyTeam code-share partnerships after leaving

BEIJING (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines 600029.SS1055.HK will keep code-share partnerships with most SkyTeam members after its official departure from the airline alliance on Jan. 1, the airline said on Tuesday.

A code-share agreement is an arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased from an airline on a flight that is actually operated by another airline under a different flight number or code. All major airlines have one or more code-share agreements.

China Southern will continue code-share partnerships with 14 existing SkyTeam partners including Aeroflot, Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air and Xiamen Airlines, it said in a statement to Hong Kong stock exchange.

Frequent flyer cooperations will also be continued with these SkyTeam partners, it said, adding the airline would launch its own priority service brand to substitute “Skypriority” on its flights.

However, China Southern will not continue its code-share partnership with China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd 600115.SS0670.HK, another SkyTeam member.

China Southern said last year it was planning to leave SkyTeam, one of the three global airline alliances that provide reciprocal benefits for passengers such as lounge usage and frequent flyer points and give airlines transfer passengers from partners in a boost to revenue.

SkyTeam will have 19 members after the departure of China Southern Airlines.

After it announced plans to leave the alliance, China Southern has expanded its code-sharing deal with British Airways and deepened cooperations with American Airlines AAL.O, both members of the Oneworld group of airlines which China Southern could look to join at a later date.

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter