AMSTERDAM, Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, today formally accepted the joining of Xiamen Airlines into the alliance. China's fifth largest airline, Xiamen Airlines begins the joining process leading to full entry into SkyTeam by the end of 2012, further strengthening the alliance offer in the flourishing southeast China region.

Based in Xiamen, a coastal city in East China's Fujian province, Xiamen Airlines operates a network of domestic and regional services throughout China and Asia, predominantly from the hub airports of Xiamen, Fuzhou and Hangzhou. Fujian is one of the more prosperous provinces in China with diverse industries such as clothing, tea production and electronics. Tourism has seen very strong growth and is one of the highlights in the region's economy.

While currently over 90% of the network is domestic, Xiamen Airlines' goal is to boost its international traffic by expanding the network to serve major long-haul destinations in Australia, Europe and North America, starting in 2014. The integration of Xiamen Airlines into SkyTeam will be fully supported by major shareholder China Southern, the first Chinese airline that joined SkyTeam in 2007.

"SkyTeam has long recognized the region's huge economic potential, resulting in our #1 position in Greater China. Xiamen Airlines' membership in SkyTeam will strengthen our offer in the southeastern part of China and the cross-strait markets," said SkyTeam Managing Director Michael Wisbrun. "And while we further capitalize on the expanding network, our members in China will work together to enhance alliance-wide benefits for our customers." 

"With the accelerated globalization of the world economy and China's rapid economic development, Xiamen Airlines will further enhance its competitive edge in the coming years by becoming a first-class airline in the Asia-Pacific region," said Xiamen Airlines President Che Shanglun. "Membership in SkyTeam will enable us to expand our intercontinental network offering, in cooperation with our partners in the alliance."

About SkyTeam

SkyTeam is a global airline alliance providing customers from member airlines access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connectivity. Passengers can earn and redeem Frequent Flyer Miles throughout the SkyTeam network. SkyTeam member airlines offer customers over 490 lounges worldwide. The fifteen members are: Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, TAROM and Vietnam Airlines. SkyTeam offers its 487 million annual customers globally over 14,500 daily flights to 926 destinations in 173 countries. /

About Xiamen Airlines

Xiamen Airlines, based in Southeastern China and established on July 25, 1984, operates over 150 routes from its main hubs in Xiamen, Fuzhou and Hangzhou, covering most major and medium-sized cities in Greater China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) as well as main cities in Southeast and Northeast Asia. Xiamen Airlines is the fifth largest Chinese carrier in terms of domestic seats. Currently the airline operates a fleet of 78 aircraft, carrying 13.6 million customers (2010). According to the next five-year plan, by 2015 Xiamen Airlines will own 136 aircraft (including 6 B787s), carrying over 30 million passengers. (currently Chinese only)


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