Juneyao Airlines, a Chinese privately-run carrier, has announced that they will be joining Star Alliance in 2017. They will become one of Star Alliance’s “Connecting Partners,” which is a new model meant for low-cost carrier. The latest full Star Alliance members were Air India (joined 2014) and EVA Air (joined 2013).
The Shanghai-based carrier currently operates 55 Airbus A320/321 in their fleet, with 1,700 weekly flights to 69 destinations. They mostly provide domestic flights within China, but also operates a handful of flights to Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. The airline also has a low-cost carrier subsidiary, called 9 Air, which operates flights to 6 cities with its Boeing 737 fleet.
Juneyao Airlines is relatively young, having started operations only in 2006. However, they are riding on the growth of the aviation industry in China, and are expanding rapidly. Earlier this year, the airline filed with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to open long-haul intercontinental routes. The airline is said to be eyeing the Boeing B787 and Airbus A350 for these routes in the long term.
Currently, 17 Star Alliance members already fly in and out of Shanghai Pudong and Hongqiao airports. Juneyao Airlines will join Shenzhen Airlines and Air China, both already Star Alliance partners, in providing passenger with connections in China and beyond.
Star Alliance and Juneyao held a conference in Shanghai today. Wang Junyin, the Chairman of Juneyao Airlines, is optimistic about the partnership:
[We are] proud to play its role in enlarging the Star Alliance network offer through Shanghai’s two airports. We look forward to welcoming connecting passengers from Star Alliance on our airline in the near future. We offer 53 additional routes which will complement Star Alliance’s existing services from Shanghai and will no doubt attract more connecting passengers to our two home hub airports.
Star Alliance is already the world’s largest airline alliance group, and I see the addition of Juneyao Airlines as a positive thing. As a connecting partner, passengers will be able to through-check luggage and enjoy lounge access. Sadly for those interested in redeeming miles on Juneyao’s flights, there doesn’t seem to be any potential in the redemption front as of right now.