The Lufthansa Group and Air China signed a partnership agreement Tuesday enabling the two airlines to operate joint flights between Europe and China.
"As the flag carrier, Air China is the ideal partner for the Lufthansa Group in the People’s Republic of China," said Carsten Spohr, chief executive of Lufthansa, at the signing of the agreement at Beijing Capital International Airport.
"The Chinese aviation market is one of the most important growth markets worldwide. We want to profit from this growth together with our Star Alliance partner, Air China," Spohr said.
Under the agreement, the two airlines will expand network coverage in China and Europe and improve flight connections and schedules "to bring more and flexible flight choices, favourable fare products and seamless travel experiences," said Cai Jianjiang, chairman of Air China, at the signing.
The two airlines will still face "huge competition" from other Chinese and European carriers, and therefore the companies will not be in a position to raise fares, Spohr told journalists after the ceremony.
Flights will be priced "depending on joint availability of seats and demand, and there will be still a huge spread of fares as there is now," Spohr said.
It is Lufthansa's third such deal in Asia, after signing joint venture partnership agreements with Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Singapore Airlines in 2015.