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Sino-German Aviation Deal Set for May 1

A long-awaited bilateral agreement between European aviation giant Deutsche Lufthansa AG (Lufthansa) and Shanghai Airlines Co Ltd (Shanghai Airlines) will come into force on May 1, giving both sides a better chance to further tap the growing Sino-German aviation market.


According to the deal, the German carrier and its Chinese counterpart Shanghai Airlines - a fast-growing regional carrier based in the nation's economic hub - will operate some of their routes in code-sharing and will also work closely together on frequent flyer programmes.


Lufthansa customers will get the chance to fly to more destinations in China from Shanghai under Lufthansa flight numbers as a result of the partnership. The co-operation will initially involve three domestic flight routes of Shanghai Airlines, namely Shanghai to Beijing, Shanghai to Shenzhen and Shanghai to Qingdao.


"We are very pleased that, in addition to our tried and tested partnership with Air China, we have found one more dynamic partner in China. By working with Shanghai Airlines, we believe that together we can make our customers an even more attractive offer to and from China," said Wolfgang Mayrhuber, chairman and chief executive officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.


Echoing Mayrhuber's remark, Zhou Chi, president of Shanghai Airlines, also expressed optimism about the prospects of the partnership.


"We are glad to join hands with Lufthansa - one of the world's outstanding airlines. It is important to take full advantage of the Pudong Airport as one of the most important aviation hubs in China. At the same time, this cooperation with Lufthansa will promote the business growth of both parties and better satisfy our passengers."


The German flag carrier has already enjoyed successful co-operation with its Chinese counterpart Air China since October 2000. It currently flies to the Chinese mainland's major air hubs of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (via Shanghai) through code-sharing co-operation with Air China.


Lufthansa can provide its passengers with the chance to reach cities including Dalian, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Xi'an under Lufthansa flight numbers, thanks to a recent expansion of the code-sharing co-operation with the Chinese national flag carrier.


Mayrhuber denied the cooperation will have any negative impact on its relationship with Air China.


Shanghai Airlines has submitted its application to the Chinese aviation authority to open long-distance international flights to Germany, a move widely regarded by many industry insiders as positive one to break the monopoly on major international flights by the three major Chinese aviation groups - Air China, China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd.


But the regional carrier is remaining tightlipped on whether its application to fly to Germany has been approved.


(China Daily April 10, 2004)


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