One trend we’ve seen among global airlines the past few years is that the major alliances have become less important, while individual partnerships and joint ventures have become much more important. As a result we haven’t seen much growth of the global alliances, while we have seen a lot of new partnerships.
Air Canada & Virgin Australia are partnering
Air Canada seems to be thinking outside the traditional alliances at the moment. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about their new codeshare partnership with Virgin Australia. The intent is that Virgin Australia is codesharing on select Air Canada flights within Canada, while Air Canada is codesharing on select Virgin Australia flights within the Pacific region. The partnership makes a lot of sense, given that right now Air Canada doesn’t really have a partner for passengers looking to connect beyond their Sydney and Brisbane hubs.
Air Canada & Cathay Pacific are partnering
Air Canada & Cathay Pacific have just announced a new codeshare agreement, which works in a very similar way to Air Canada’s new partnership with Virgin Australia. This new partnership applies for tickets booked as of January 12, 2017, and for travel as of January 19, 2017.
Through this partnership, Air Canada will be codesharing on eight Cathay Pacific routes within Asia:
Air Canada will offer codeshare services to an additional eight cities in Southeast Asia on flights operated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon connecting with Air Canada’s double daily service to Hong Kong from Toronto and Vancouver. Air Canada will place its code on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights to Manila, Cebu, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
Meanwhile Cathay Pacific will be codesharing on all major Air Canada routes within Canada:
Cathay Pacific customers will be able to book travel on Air Canada flights connecting with Cathay Pacific’s up to three daily flights to Vancouver and up to two daily services to Toronto from Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific will place its code on Air Canada flights to all major cities across Canada including Winnipeg, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and St. Johns.
The press release also states that members of both Aeroplan and Asia Miles will be able to earn and redeem miles on the above codeshare routes. Unfortunately I doubt we’ll see full reciprocity, but rather just Aeroplan members being able to earn and redeem miles on eight Cathay Pacific routes within Asia, and Asia Miles members being able to earn and redeem miles on Air Canada flights within Canada.
These new Air Canada partnerships make a lot of sense, especially in markets where they don’t currently have a lot of opportunities to provide passengers with connection opportunities. That’s very much the case for Air Canada right now in Hong Kong, Sydney, and Brisbane.
This should help Air Canada sell more tickets, though as a frequent flyer I wouldn’t get too excited. You’ll only be able to earn and redeem miles on a limited number of routes, and it doesn’t sound like there will be frequent flyer reciprocity in terms of lounge access, priority boarding, etc.