Hainan Airlines to join oneworld despite uncertain gains
"The company has considered joining one alliance for a long time," said Lu Feng, manager of the public relations center of Hainan Airlines, but he did not say which alliance the carrier intends to join.
"Joining the alliance is a double-edged sword, but the opportunities in an alliance outweigh the challenges," Lu said. "It is just like joining the WTO – we enjoy rights and obligations at the same time."
Joining the alliance means domestic carriers may expand flights to more destinations in the world, and allow them to share mileage points and airport facilities with other members of the alliance.
Figures from carnoc.com, an aviation and flight information portal, show 90 percent of the top 100 carriers worldwide have joined different alliances. Three alliances, Star, SkyTeam and oneworld hold an 80 percent share of the global market.
Air China is a member of Star, while China Southern is in SkyTeam and China Eastern reached an agreement to join it in April, a deal expected to be realized in mid-2011, leaving oneworld as the only alliance without a Chinese mainland member. It is widely speculated that Hainan Airlines will join oneworld.
However, "It is hard to say how much Hainan Airlines will gain from joining the alliance," Li Xiaojin, a professor with the Civil Aviation University of China, told the Global Times Wednesday.
Li attributed the low expectations to the small international flight offerings of Hainan Airlines.
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