China Airlines Ltd, Taiwan's flag carrier, has announced that it has started the process leading to full entry into the SkyTeam airline alliance.
The carrier said that the process is expected to be completed by mid-2011 and the announcement came just a few months after China Eastern signed an agreement to join SkyTeam.
According to Leo van Wijk, the chairman of the alliance's board, the inclusion of China Airlines in their network will solidify SkyTeam's unrivalled presence in the Greater China market, a region that continues to experience significant economic growth.
He added that in addition to the services provided by their existing members, China Airlines offers an extensive cross-straits operation, linking Taiwan to multiple major destinations in China. In addition van Wijk said that Taipei will serve as an alternative Asian hub with services to and from key business destinations in the region.
Philip Wei, the chairman of China Airlines, stated that joining the alliance is a long-term development strategy for the carrier.
As the largest passenger and cargo airline providing services between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the addition of China Airlines to SkyTeam is expected to be a major milestone in Taiwan's efforts to become one of Asia's leading air transport and business hubs.