Airlines Become Birds of A Feather

Northwest Airlines of the United States will become the first foreign airline to display its code (NW) on domestic flight numbers in China as of December 19 this year, in a code-sharing pact with Air China, it was announced Friday.

"This will give Northwest Airlines' customers direct access to nine cities in China, either on Northwest aircraft or through its code-sharing relationship with Air China," said John Watkins, vice-president of Northwest Airlines.

The eight new cities are Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Xi'an, Nanjing, Qingdao, Chengdu and Xiamen.

Northwest is the only foreign airline with a code-sharing pact on domestic flights in China, Watkins said.

In return, Air China will raise the number of gateway US cities it serves directly from three to nine, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The airline continues to serve 10 other US cities either with its own aircraft or through code-sharing with Northwest, including Boston, Washington and Miami, Watkins said.

Zhang Xueren, vice-president of Air China, said the availability of more code-sharing cities will further promote Sino-US communication and co-operation.

"We hope the reinforced alliance will play a positive role in boosting China's aviation industry and stimulating China's fast economic development," Zhang said.

According to Watkins, passengers of both airlines will benefit from the new frequent flyer programmes of the new alliance.

"Members of Northwest Airlines' WorldPerks can redeem miles for free tickets on Air China routes, such as from Beijing and Shanghai to all cities in China and from China to Asia and the South Pacific," he said.

Meanwhile, members of Air China's Companion programme can accumulate miles on Northwest Airlines' routes. Members can redeem mileage for free tickets on Northwest's Sino-US trans-Pacific flights, US domestic flights, Asian flights and flights from the United States to Europe.

(China Daily 12/09/2000)