* Juneyao to join Star as "connecting partner" in Q2 2017
* Airline plans to launch long-haul, intercontinental routes
(Adds executives' quotes, context)
By Brenda Goh
SHANGHAI, Oct 10 Chinese privately-owned carrier
Juneyao Airlines said it will join global airline
alliance group Star Alliance in 2017, giving it a springboard
for planned international expansion as more Chinese tourists
Juneyao will join the world's largest airline alliance as a
"connecting partner" rather than as a full member, linking it up
with airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa
and Air China, the firm said at an event
in Shanghai on Monday.
The airline, one of China's largest private carriers, said
it aimed to open new routes to North America, Europe and
Australia by 2020, and that joining the alliance would help add
at least 700 new routes to its network.
"Putting our networks together allows us to cover the whole
globe," Juneyao vice president of marketing, Yu Chengji, said at
The Shanghai-based company, which first flew in 2006,
currently operates domestic routes or short-haul international
flights to neighbouring countries such as Japan, South Korea and
Thailand, but is eyeing long-haul, intercontinental routes.
The agreement with Star Alliance, which will come into
effect from the second quarter of next year, had been years in
the making, CEO of the alliance, Mark Schwab, said. Juneyao had
been concerned that it was not ready to become a full member,
which he said would require a significant investment from the
Both parties did not say how much Juneyao is investing to
join the alliance.
Being part of the alliance, however, means airlines can
share services such as check-in counters and lounges and more
directly connect onto flights with carriers within the alliance,
thereby opening up more routes it can offer its customers.
Chinese tourists have been ramping up their number of trips
and spending overseas, a windfall for airlines and tourism
operators who have been looking to cash in on the boom.
"(This tie-up) allows us to achieve our goals, lower our
costs and provide more services to our passengers," Juneyao
chairman Wang Junjin said.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by
Michael Perry and Muralikumar Anantharaman)