KLM, China Southern offer joint cargo service

KLM, China Southern offer joint cargo service

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Europe's fourth-largest carrier, and China Southern Airlines, China's top airline, Monday announced a joint cargo service between Amsterdam and Shanghai.

The new service, comprising four weekly 747 freighter flights between Amsterdam Schiphol and Shanghai Pudong airports, will start on Oct. 15.

Under the accord, China Southern will launch a new twice-weekly service between Amsterdam and Shanghai while KLM Cargo will continue its current twice-weekly freighter services on the same route.

The joint service, following the addition of two 747 extended-range freighters to the KLM fleet earlier in the year, will substantially boost the contribution of the Asia/Pacific region which already accounts for 50 percent of the carrier's cargo traffic.

The two airlines have been operating joint passenger services between Europe and China for over two years.

Separately, the boards of KLM and Air France are due to meet Wednesday to finalize plans for an alliance involving a stock swap that is expected to pave the way for a full-scale merger creating Europe's biggest airline and its second-largest cargo carrier after Lufthansa Cargo.

- Bruce Barnard in London