The Nanjinger – China Southern Splits with SkyTeam Your Miles are Safe Flying on China Southern over Chinese New Year? Be aware that the airline is no longer a member of SkyTeam. New agreements are already in place that will see most passenger benefits continue, while the airline has also rolled out a new-look frequent flyer program.
On 24 December, 2019, China Southern Airlines released an official statement confirming that it will it will no longer be a member of SkyTeam from 1 January, 2020.
The airline’s departure means that SkyTeam is now the smallest of the three three major airline alliances, by passenger numbers, behind OneWorld (#2) and Star Alliance (#1). SkyTeam now counts 18 airlines among its members.
Of the 18, China Southern no longer cooperates with Aeroméxico, China Eastern Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, and Tarom.
It is not clear whether miles previously accrued on flights operated by the five aforementioned shall still be honoured by China Southern. New China Southern Frequent Flyer Program
The new CZ Priority VIP program replaces SkyPriority, meaning the airline’s gold and silver members continue to enjoy the same benefits. These include priority check-in, baggage, boarding and VIP lounge access. SkyTeam partners’ Elite and Elite Plus members are entitled to same.
Announced just a week before the split took place, the deal has actually been in the works for the past year. China Southern first indicated that its exit was likely in November of 2018, intending to be out of the alliance by January of 2019.
Instead, the airline spent much of last year signing new codeshare agreements with American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Finnair, JAL, Qantas and Qatar Airways.
A SkyTeam spokesperson said, “SkyTeam and China Southern have worked very closely together over the last 12 months to ensure a smooth transition for all SkyTeam customers. This process was mostly completed on December 31, 2019. We continue to wish China Southern all the best in its future ambitions”.
China Southern is one of China’s “Big Three” airlines, together with Air China and China Eastern. It is Asia’s largest airline in terms of size of fleet, revenue and number of passengers carried.
The airline began operations of its first long-haul international route, Guangzhou–Beijing–Amsterdam, in November of 1996. China Southern is based at Guangzhou’s Baiyun Airport and is the only Chinese carrier to operate the Airbus A380.