Xiamen Airlines 737-700. By Rob Finlayson

China Southern Airlines subsidiary Xiamen Airlines (MF) has been accepted into the SkyTeam alliance, with full entry slated by the end of 2012 (ATW Daily News, June 13). The carrier signed the agreement last week in Rome.

The predominately domestic carrier feeds 90% of traffic out of its three hubs in Xiamen, Fuzhou and Hangzhou.

SkyTeam membership will enable MF to offer passengers access to the alliance’s strong network of 173 countries served by 15 member carriers.

“Membership in SkyTeam will enable us to expand our intercontinental network offering, in cooperation with our partners in the alliance,” MF president Che Shanglun said.

As of April 30, the Xiamen-based carrier operated 71 aircraft. Che said MF will expand its fleet to 136 aircraft by 2015 when passenger boardings are targeted to reach 30 million.

China’s fifth largest airline ordered six Boeing 787s in May, which are scheduled for delivery between 2014 and 2015 when the carrier is expected to launch routes to Europe and the US (ATW Daily News, May 10).

Other Chinese SkyTeam member carriers include China Southern, China Eastern and Taipei-based China Airlines.

“SkyTeam has long recognized the region’s huge economic potential, resulting in our No.1 position in Greater China. Xiamen Airlines’ membership in SkyTeam will strengthen our offer in the southeastern part of China and the cross-strait markets,” SkyTeam MD Michael Wisbrun said.