China Southern to Leave the SkyTeam Alliance
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The SkyTeam alliance is losing one of its member airlines. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, China Southern will leave the alliance, instead choosing to meet the needs of its own development strategy.
According to a source at the airline and reported by Reuters, the airline is leaving because it believes it’s too expensive to be a member of the alliance, relative to the benefits it gets in return for being a member. The source added that the airline will consider joining the Oneworld alliance, but it has not yet made a decision. China Southern is the largest airline in China by passenger numbers.
Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong-based carrier that’s a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, has the right to veto the entrance of a new member airline from the greater China region, said two sources familiar with the matter. China Southern, which is based on the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou (CAN), competes directly against Cathay for traffic in the region. The two cities are located just 84 miles apart.
China Southern said in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange that it did not expect its exit from SkyTeam to significantly impact operations. SkyTeam said that it’s working with China Southern to ensure a seamless transition for both other members and for customers. The process will be completed by the end of 2019.
Remaining SkyTeam members after China Southern’s departure include: Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, AirEuropa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Air.
Xiamen Air, which is a subsidiary of China Southern, said that it has no plans to leave the group.
At this point, it remains unclear what China Southern’s exit from SkyTeam will mean for flyers — especially in the near term. Because there are strong ties between SkyTeam carriers, such as reciprocal benefits, codesharing, ticketing and more, there is plenty to be worked out between the two groups.
Since the official exit won’t take place until Jan. 1, 2019, if you have travel booked with China Southern for the remainder of 2018, there should be no impact on your flight. In addition, there’s the possibility that no changes to earning miles and elite status credits could take place until the end of 2019. Though those details remain unseen.
China Southern’s exit from the SkyTeam alliance comes on the heels of Qatar Airways threatening to leave the Oneworld alliance. The airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker has threatened three times since October to leave the alliance because other member airlines are not playing fair.
China Southern flies nonstop to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).
Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees