After announcing its split from SkyTeam, China Southern is expanding its relationship further with US-based American Airlines.

The Dallas, Texas based American Airlines – which owns a 2.9% stake in the Guangzhou-based airline – will be increasing its codeshare cooperation and will begin offering reciprocal frequent flyer benefits such as lounge access. The expanded partnership will launch in early 2019.

China Southern is the largest airline in China – a market which is expected to be the largest aviation market in the year 2020. For American Airlines, the move is seen as a boost to its network in China and Asia. Both carriers existing partnership includes 14 routes operated by China Southern from Beijing.

"We are very pleased with the progress we have made so far in our newly formed relationship with the largest airline in Asia," said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines.

"With the opening of Beijing Daxing International Airport in 2019 and the ability to cooperate fully with China Southern Airlines, we are incredibly excited about the airline's future in the Chinese market," Isom added.

“We are delighted to see our partnership with American Airlines being further strengthened,” Zhang Lin, assistant president of China Southern, said in a statement. Lin added: “The advanced cooperation between China Southern and American will help both of us extend networks and meet passenger demands through sharing resources.”

Based on the agreement announced by China Southern, the codeshare cooperation will cover routes between China and the United States - 4 transpacific routes operated by China Southern and 5 by American. For domestic flights in both countries, American will place its AA code on 9 domestic flights from Shanghai and 5 from Beijing. In return, China Southern will have its code on 27 US routes operating from American hubs in New York-JFK, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

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