Ever since the initial steps towards a joint venture were taken in 1996, cooperation between the two companies has steadily grown. It now includes codesharing, frequent flyer programmes, and, ten years ago, the implementation of an enhanced-cooperation agreement. This involves sharing revenues and costs on the Amsterdam-Beijing route.
As the joint business has grown, new routes have been added: Guangzhou-Amsterdam, Chengdu-Amsterdam, Hangzhou-Amsterdam, Xiamen-Amsterdam and Guangzhou-London. In March 2015, the joint venture was enhanced with the addition of China Southern Airlines’ subsidiary Xiamen Airlines.
Greater China routes
Today KLM and China Southern Airlines, with Xiamen Airlines operate eight non-stop Amsterdam-Greater China routes with 60 weekly frequencies. This makes Amsterdam a prominent gateway between China and Europe. In 2006, KLM and China Southern welcomed 285,000 passengers on the first enhanced- cooperation route, Amsterdam-Beijing. Now, 10 years on, the carriers board together close to one million passengers on their cooperation routes to and from mainland China.
China Southern Airlines and KLM further continue to intensify their cooperation in other areas of the airline business too. KLM recently signed an engine maintenance agreement with Xiamen Airlines. KLM and China Southern Airlines have also recently joined forces with Chinese and Dutch air traffic control and the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) to learn from each other and to seek out ways to prevent and reduce flight delays.
Air France has been working in close cooperation with China Southern as well for more than five years on the Paris-Guangzhou route. The parties are currently discussing to also further enhance this cooperation. Other opportunities in such areas as Cargo, Engineering & Maintenance, and E-commerce will also be explored.