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United Airlines and Air China Strengthen and Extend Strategic Partnership

Expanded relationship will offer customers new benefits and elevated travel experience

March 23, 2016

CHICAGO and BEIJING, March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Air China and United Airlines recently signed a multi-year agreement to strengthen their long-standing strategic partnership. In addition to the long-term extension of their agreement, Air China and United have established a joint strategic initiative that will significantly deepen coordination between the two airlines for the benefit of their customers in China and the United States.

Air China's President, Song Zhiyong, said: "Both the United States and China are crucial for the international aviation market. I firmly believe that the strengthened partnership between United and Air China will provide better and more convenient services for the passengers in the joint Sino-U.S. market."

Through the new initiative, Air China and United will work together to elevate their product offering to customers across the travel experience, including:

  • Expanding connecting flight opportunities to further enhance their industry-leading joint network between China and the United States
  • Creating a more seamless experience for customers when traveling through key gateway airports, such as Beijing and San Francisco
  • Enhancing elite frequent flyer benefits for each other's most loyal customers when traveling on the joint network
  • Coordinating and expanding joint marketing and product-enhancement opportunities in both the United States and China

The new initiative will be led by senior executives from both carriers, who will meet regularly to coordinate new initiative rollouts, promote closer cultural integration between Air China and United, and prepare both companies for future joint opportunities.

United's President and Chief Executive Officer, Oscar Munoz, said: "We are honored by the close partnership United and Air China have shared since 2003 and the positive difference it has made in the travel experience for both carriers' customers. This agreement marks a significant milestone in our long-standing cooperation and further distinguishes United and Air China as the leading carriers between the U.S. and China."

United currently serves three mainland China destinations nonstop from its premier Asia-Pacific gateway at San Francisco.

United will launch an additional nonstop service from San Francisco to its fourth destination in mainland China, Xi'an, on May 8, 2016 (westbound), and its fifth destination in mainland China, Hangzhou, on July 13, 2016 (westbound), subject to government approval.

Air China and United, both members of Star Alliance, currently operate the leading joint network between China and the United States, and together carried more than 2.7 million customers between the two countries in 2015. The carriers operate codeshare flights on 47 routes in China, 72 routes in the U.S. and Mexico, and 16 trans-Pacific nonstop routes between China and the United States.

United in China

United celebrated its 30th anniversary of service to mainland China in February 2016 and today serves Beijing with nonstop flights to and from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington/Dulles; Shanghai with nonstop flights to and from Chicago, Guam, Los Angeles, New York/Newark and San Francisco; and Chengdu with nonstop flights to and from San Francisco. United will launch nonstop flights between San Francisco and Xi'an on May 8, 2016 and between San Francisco and Hangzhou on July 13, 2016 (both dates westbound), subject to government approval.

Air China in the United States

On Jan. 7, 1981, Air China launched the first scheduled trans-Pacific flight between the United States and China, from Beijing to New York. Today, through its main hub in Beijing, Air China provides nonstop services to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Washington Dulles, Honolulu, New York J.F.K. and Newark, subject to government approval. Air China will launch another nonstop flight to San Jose from Shanghai this summer and strengthen the capacity of its Beijing-San Francisco service in early August.

About Air China

Air China is China's only national flag carrier and a member carrier of the world's largest airline network - Star Alliance. By November 2015, Air China had a fleet of 523 passenger aircraft and freighters of mainly Boeing and Airbus families (including those of the carriers which Air China has a majority stake in). It operates 353 routes, including 97 international routes, 14 regional routes and 242 domestic routes. It serves 171 cities in 38 countries and regions, including 62 international cities, three regional cities and 106 domestic cities. Every week, Air China offers over 1.47 million seats on over 7,700 flights. Air China's customer service philosophy revolves around four elements: credibility, convenience, comfort, and choice. Hard work over the years has resulted in a tremendous increase in Air China's brand value. In 2013, Air China ranked again as one of the world's top 500 brands with a brand value of RMB 91.899 billion, and was the only Chinese carrier on the World Brands 500 list. For more information, visit:

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 20 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

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SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, 872.825.8640,

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