Guangzhou based China Southern Airlines (CSA) is ready to leave the airline alliance SkyTeam on January 1st, 2020. The airline first announced, in November 2018, that it had decided not to renew its current contract with SkyTeam and wanted to make a withdrawal from the alliance by the end of 2019. The airline, in an official statement, said that it "will have completed all transitional work for its withdrawal from SkyTeam Alliance by 31st December 2019 and will officially leave the SkyTeam Alliance on 1st January 2020." This will mark the end of a 12-year long relationship between China Southern and SkyTeam.
When China Southern joined the alliance back in 2007, it was the only carrier from mainland China, but China Eastern joined in 2011. China Eastern's presence is rumored to be one of the major reasons why China Southern has decided to leave the alliance.
Photo by Karam Sodhi | AeroNewsX
Subsequently, the airline will be replacing the current Frequent Flyer Programme ‘Sky Priority’ with its Frequent Flyer Programme, so all Gold, Silver, Elite, and Elite Plus cardholders at China Southern will not be affected by this decision.
Despite the carrier’s departure from the group, it will still maintain its codeshares with 14 SkyTeam member airlines including Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. The airline, however, would not be on a code-share agreement with China Eastern Airlines.
Along with the 14 airlines, China Southern has also code-shared with and expanded its “Global Circle of Friends” which include British Airways, American Airlines, Emirates, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Qatar Airways.
Photo by Preston Fiedler | AeroNewsX
China Southern is one of the largest carriers in the world in terms of fleet size with a massive fleet of over 850 passengers and cargo aircraft. The airline aims to soon be the largest in terms of fleet size and realizes its need to fulfill this goal outside of SkyTeam.