BEIJING — Air Canada says its new joint venture with Air China deepens the two carriers’ long-standing partnership and provides passengers with long-term benefits including flights, products and services.
Air Canada’s President and CEO Calin Rovinescu joined Jianjiang Cai, Chairman of Air China and Zhiyong Song, President of Air China at a ceremony in Beijing today to sign the first joint venture agreement between a Chinese and North American airline.
The joint venture allows the carriers and Star Alliance members to expand their existing codeshare relationship and deepen it by increasing commercial cooperation on flights between Canada and China and on key connecting domestic flights in both countries.
“Our joint venture agreement with Air China, the highly respected flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, is an important strategy in our global expansion as it significantly increases Air Canada’s presence in an aviation market set to become the world’s largest by 2022,” said Rovinescu.
Air Canada has served China for more than 30 years, with average annual capacity growth of 12.5% over five years and $2 billion in aircraft assets currently committed on routes between Canada and China, he added.
Jianjiang Cai, Chairman of Air China Limited, said the Sino-Canada market is one of the important long-haul markets to Air China, which has been developed rapidly in recent years with an increase of 17.8% in 2017.
Benefits from the joint venture, set to be phased in over the course of the next six months, include more flight choices, fare products and seamless travel experiences, optimized flight schedules, harmonized fare products, joint sales including corporate and marketing programs, aligned frequent flyer privileges and reciprocal lounge access.
The carriers’ recently expanded codeshare, effective May 5, increases the number of Canada-China connecting flight opportunities for customers by 564 each day. In December 2017, Air China and Air Canada implemented an expanded reciprocal lounge agreement for customers and introduced the airlines’ first joint frequent flyer promotion for their respective PhoenixMiles and Aeroplan members.
In the last two years, Air China has launched flights directly linking Beijing with Montreal, and Air Canada has launched new nonstop flights between Montreal and Shanghai to meet growth in demand.
The two carriers now operate up to a total of 52 trans-Pacific flights per week between Canada and China from Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal to and from Beijing and Shanghai.