Lufthansa Group and Air China signed a partnership agreement in Beijing on September 20, 2016 which will enable the two companies to jointly operate all connections between Europe and China as part of a commercial joint venture. The co-operation is scheduled to commence at the start of the 2017 summer flight timetable.

The joint venture aims to significantly expand their mutual code-sharing connections and enhance their commercial partnership. This will allow the Lufthansa Group to continue pursuing its partnership-driven Asia strategy.

Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “The Chinese aviation market is one of the most important growth markets worldwide. We want to profit from this growth together with our Star Alliance partner, Air China.”

Cai Jianjiang, Chairman of Air China, stated: “Under the Joint Venture framework, we will further expand network coverage in China and Europe, enhance the flight connections in beyond markets and optimise flight schedules, enabling us to bring more and flexible flight choices, favorable fare products and seamless travel experiences.”

The expanded code-sharing connections will enable Air China’s customers to conveniently travel on more code-sharing routes to/from various destinations in Austria, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland via the Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna hubs.

In turn, Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines will gain access via Air China to additional routes in China, the second-biggest aviation market in the world. Further destinations are set to be added soon as part of code-sharing.