There had been rumours in the mill about this, but effective today British Airways and China Southern have signed a codesharing agreement to sell tickets on each other's domestic flights for routes to/from:
UK: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast
China: Shenyang, Harbin, Changchun and Dalian
The new routes are Avios earning or Skypearl Club miles earning (should you wish to
This is interesting as this relationship straddles across major alliances (Oneworld and Skyteam), when there is another major competitor within the same alliance as BA, namely Cathay Pacific.
Flights are purchasable with immediate effect over on ba.com, and true to their word it prices up on the website.
The catch here is that wording of the press release implies long haul routes are NOT codeshared, and that the route should pass through Shanghai or Beijing.
To confirm, when I search for China Southern's non-stop flight between Guanzhou and London Heathrow through ba.com, operated 9 times per week, it is clearly absent from BA's search results.
The up side to not sharing the long haul route is avoiding the nuisance transfer between Heathrow Terminal 5 to 4 (or vice versa) if you had to go between airlines. They are at opposite ends of the airport and require a minimum connection time of 1hr 25 minutes, though I personally would not risk it if it were under 3hrs – much more if I had to go landside as the route is more circuitous and involves clearing immigration and the queuing times can be a lottery.
So amidst all of this…will Cathay Pacific flex their muscles, with the extra competition this brings? Or will they just shrug it off?