Guangzhou-based China Southern Airlines expects to become the world’s biggest carrier in the next three years and does not plan to align with any of the industry’s major groups in the meantime, reports SCMP.
“I think it is important to build bilateral cooperation with every carrier that we want, for us to grow, we are the largest carrier in Asia,” said a senior executive. “In three to five years we will be the largest in the world. We need the flexibility to cooperate the way we want.”
China Southern has struck a number of partnerships with Oneworld carriers since quitting the Skyteam alliance, including with British Airways, Finnair, and American Airlines (AA), which paid US$200 million for a 2.76% stake in March 2017. Late last year, Qatar Airways bought a 5% stake for an undisclosed sum.
China Southerncarried more than 140 million passengers last year on more than 840 passenger and cargo planes. The fleet will grow to more than 1,000 aircraft by 2021, and 2,000 by 2035, Wu said.