New United and Star Alliance ‘connecting partner’: Juneyao Airlines

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One of, if not the main reason, that I’m a United loyalist is the Star Alliance network.  You can really go places…and today a new airline, though not a ‘member’ of the Star Alliance network, has entered into a ‘Connecting Partner’ arrangement with the alliance.  Under this new concept -and perhaps Star Alliance’s response to increasing bilateral airline partnerships- Juneyao Airlines offers Star Alliance passengers a bunch of new connecting opportunities in China via Shanghai airports Pudong and Hongqiao.  United is one of the five Star Alliance airlines that from the get go enters into a bilateral commercial agreement, which includes frequent flyer Program based privileges.  With Juneyao, United strengthens its position as top U.S. carrier to and within China.  Star Alliance already dominates the international sector in markets like Beijing, so this new arrangement provides the domestic aspect.

Full news release from StarAlliance.com:

For all connecting passengers through check-in will be offered in both directions and all qualifying Star Alliance Gold Status passengers will be provided the following privileges on their Juneyao Airlines connecting flights:
• Lounge Access
• Fast Track Security
• Additional Baggage
• Priority Check-in
• Priority Boarding
• Priority Standby
• Priority Baggage Delivery

“With Juneyao Airlines as a Connecting Partner we have achieved two important goals. First, as an alliance we can offer regional airlines an attractive way to connect to our global alliance network, without requiring full membership. Going forward, this will enable us to strategically enhance our network. Second, with Juneyao Airlines we strengthen our market position in Shanghai, a city which is already served by 17 of our member airlines and which will now offer even better connectivity to our customers”, said Jeffrey Goh, CEO Star Alliance.

Star Alliance member airlines Air Canada, Air China*, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA*, Asiana*, Austrian, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air*, Lufthansa, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United operate more than 1,600 weekly services (874 weekly domestic flights and 811 weekly international flights) in and out of the Chinese metropolis, serving 64 destinations (25 domestic and 39 international) in 19 countries. Juneyao Airlines now offers Star Alliance customers the option of connecting to more than 1,700 weekly flights to 69 destinations in eight countries and regions through Shanghai.

“In our 11 year history we have grown into a medium-sized airline operating 62 Airbus A320-family aircraft. Being selected as a Connecting Partner by Star Alliance for providing additional connectivity through Shanghai is recognition of our dedication to service. We hope that Star Alliance customers will enjoy our hospitality”, said Wang Junjin, Chairman Juneyao Airlines.

The Connecting Partner Model allows regional, low-cost or hybrid airlines to link to the Star Alliance network without having to become a full member. For customers this gives access to additional travel options beyond the current 1,300 airports served by the Alliance’s 28 member airlines. Connecting Partners are carefully selected and need to adhere to the high operating standards required by the Alliance.

Connecting Partners also enter into bilateral commercial agreements with selected Star Alliance member airlines, which may include Frequent Flyer Programme based privileges.
In case of Juneyao Airlines, Frequent Flyer Members of Air Canada, Air China, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines and United will be able to earn and burn miles when travelling on the Chinese airline.

The news release provided further information about Juneyao Airlines:

  • Owns 60 brand new Airbus A320 series aircraft with an average fleet age of 3 years, which is the youngest one for any of the domestic airlines in China.
  • Targets the middle-to-high-level official, business and leisure markets.
  • Based in Shanghai its route network radiates to the whole nation and counts more than 80 domestic routes between Shanghai and Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and so on.
  • It has also progressively opened up international and regional routes to Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Thailand, Japan and Korea. At present it carries more than 10 million passengers per year.

It’ll indeed be interesting to see how the three large alliances step up as airlines continue to make bilateral agreements, which have caused many to deem airline alliances obsolete.  For more information about United’s moves in China, see this article.

*Featured image from juneyaoair.com

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