After what seems like eons in negotiations, Air Canada and Air China have finally come to an agreement and launched a joint venture. The joint venture, which was signed at a ceremony in Beijing, will enhance the codesharing agreement the two airlines have in place. The joint venture will also significantly increase the number of domestic locations that each airline can reach in the other country.
The joint venture is a first between a Chinese and North American airline. Air Canada has stated that this is a very important venture that will open up a large area for growth for its airline in transpacific flights. Air Canada further stated that the new venture also gives its airline a leading presence in the Chinese air travel market, which is growing at an exponential rate. China is expected to have the largest demand for air travel in the world by 2022.
A rep for Air Canada stated that the joint venture would allow the airline to enjoy significant growth in China. Passengers who would not be able to reach many important destinations for business and leisure travel with one ticket can now enjoy this type of travel. It is good for businesses and it is great for tourism. Passengers will be able to access more travel options, flexible flight options, optimized flight schedules and more.
The joint venture came shortly after Air Canada complied with the request by the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority to change how their tickets mention Taipei, Macau and Hong Kong. The communist party of China wants these areas to be described as part of China on all tickets, even though they are actually self-governing areas.
The chief executive of Air Canada has stated that the signing of the joint venture was not a result of its complying with the Chinese government with its request. However, the timing can be seen as coincidental.
Only 18 of the 44 airlines contacted by the Chinese government to change their ticketing practices complied with the request. The U.S. government recently issued a statement saying that they will not require American carriers to comply with these demands at this time.