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Air China and Air Canada to Form Comprehensive Strategic Alliance, Strengthening Canada-China Network


BEIJING, China and MONTREAL, Nov. 8, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Air Canada and Air China Limited today announced that the airlines have concluded a memorandum of understanding setting out the main principles for a comprehensive revenue sharing joint venture providing for an enhanced partnership on routes between Canada and China which will stimulate traffic growth between the two countries.  The joint venture will generate additional service and pricing benefits for consumers travelling between the two countries as well as provide for enhanced cooperation between the two carriers in the areas of sales, marketing and airport operations. The announcement was made in Beijing during an official visit to China by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, prior to a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) member nations.

Subject to Air Canada and Air China making the necessary filings, obtaining competition and other regulatory approvals and finalizing documentation, the joint venture is expected to come into effect by the end of 2015.

"Working cooperatively with our partner Air Canada, we will be able to provide more travel options and benefits for customers travelling between China and Canada while reducing travel times through a more streamlined travel experience," said Song Zhiyong, President and Executive Director of Air China Limited. "This joint venture between Air China and Air Canada will provide many benefits and commercial synergies on the important and growing market for travel and trade between Canada and China. Over the past five years the Canada-China air travel market has grown on average by almost 11 per cent annually and this trend is expected to remain strong according to airline industry trade group IATA."

"As members of Star Alliance, Air Canada and Air China will benefit from a revenue sharing joint venture, as have our customers through a simplified travel experience and loyalty rewards," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada, in Beijing to sign the memorandum of understanding. "By deepening our cooperation in the areas of scheduling and sales management, the carriers will be better able to serve customers by offering more travel options. The joint venture will provide customers of both carriers additional travel options through the expansion of codeshare flights to additional airports in both carriers' domestic networks as network growth is a core principle of the joint venture."

Currently, Air China offers its customers codeshare flights operated by Air Canada between Vancouver and six Canadian cities (Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) and Air Canada offers its customers codeshare flights operated by Air China between Beijing and six cities in China (Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shenyang, Wuhan and Xi'an). 

Air Canada operates up to a total of 28 flights per week between Canada and China, from Toronto and Vancouver to and from Beijing and Shanghai. Air China operates up to 11 flights per week between Beijing and Vancouver.

About Air China

Air China Limited (Air China) is the national flag carrier of China and a leading provider of passenger, air cargo and airline-related services and products in China. Its operational headquarters is in Beijing, a major domestic and international hub in China. It also provides airline-related services, including aircraft maintenance, ground handling services in Beijing, Chengdu, and other locations. As at June 30, 2014, the Company operated a fleet of 316 aircraft with an average age of 6.28 years (excluding aircraft under wet leases). Passenger traffic routes have reached to 323 routes, including 79 international, 15 regional and 229 domestic routes. The Company's network covered 32 countries and regions globally and 162 cities, including 53 international, three regional and 106 domestic cities. Air China was listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange on December 15, 2004 under codes 00753 and AIRC respectively. On August 18, 2006, Air China was listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange under code 601111. For further details, please visit Air China's website: www.airchina.com.cn.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving more than 180 destinations on five continents.  Canada's flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2013 served more than 35 million customers.  Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 60 Canadian cities, 49 destinations in the United States and 73 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,316 airports in 192 countries.  Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax that ranked Air Canada in a worldwide survey of more than 18 million airline passengers as Best Airline in North America in 2014 for the fifth consecutive year.  For more information, please visit: www.aircanada.com.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information

Air Canada's public communications may include forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements, by their nature, are based on assumptions and are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements cannot be relied upon due to, amongst other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business. Actual results may differ materially from results indicated in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including without limitation, industry, market, credit and economic conditions, the ability to reduce operating costs and secure financing, pension issues, energy prices, employee and labour relations, currency exchange and interest rates, competition, war, terrorist acts, epidemic diseases, environmental factors (including weather systems and other natural phenomena, and factors arising from man-made sources), insurance issues and costs, changes in demand due to the seasonal nature of the business, supply issues, changes in laws, regulatory developments or proceedings, pending and future litigation and actions by third parties as well as the factors identified throughout Air Canada's public disclosure file available at www.sedar.com.  Any forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent Air Canada's expectations as of the date of this news release and are subject to change after such date.  However, Air Canada disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities regulations.


SOURCE Air Canada

Image with caption: "Air Canada / Air China (CNW Group/Air Canada - Corporate - Finance)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141108_C6365_PHOTO_EN_7751.jpg

For further information: Media contacts: Air Canada: Isabelle Arthur (Montréal), isabelle.arthur@aircanada.ca, +1 514 422-5788; Peter Fitzpatrick (Toronto), peter.fitzpatrick@aircanada.ca, +1 416 263-5576; Angela Mah, (Vancouver), angela.mah@aircanada.ca, +1 604 270-5741; aircanada.com; Air China: Bian Hong, (Beijing), bianhong@airchina.com, +86 10 61462379; Guo Linying (Beijing), guolinying@airchina.com, +86 10 61462383