By Dana Niland
Is this the beginning of a major partnership?
The Chairman of Caribbean Airlines, Ronnie Mohammed, visited China this week to meet with officials from the NHA Group and Air China.
The delegation, which is led by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, met with the Chairman of the HNA Group, Chen Feng.
The HNA Group owns over 1,200 aircraft, and is a major shareholder in international hotel chains.
It is also the largest tour operating company in China.
The HNA Group has been invited to establish code sharing and interline agreements with Caribbean Airlines, through its international airline and tourism industry affiliates, according to a statement from the company.
Mohammed also met with senior officials from Air China, the Vice Chairman, of the Commercial Committee, Rao Xinyu and the Deputy Director Bilateral and Government Affairs, International Affairs and Cooperation, Zhang Baoru.
The meeting explored the possibility of code sharing and interlining opportunities between the two air carriers.
Air China is China’s sole flag carrier and a member of the world’s largest airline alliance, the Star Alliance.
On its own, Air China serves 185 destinations in 40 countries and regions, of which 66 are international destinations, including Havana, Cuba and John F. Kennedy, New York, which are destinations serviced by Caribbean Airlines.
Through its partnership with the Star Alliance, Air China’s reach extends to 1,330 destinations in 192 countries.
China represents a potentially huge new source market for Caribbean tourism, but whether the region can secure regular flight service will be a major factor.
In a statement, Caribbean Airlines said it was “optimistic that these preliminary discussions will develop into a productive partnership between the two airlines.”