China Eastern Airlines today (April 16) announced its intention to join the SkyTeam alliance.

The state-owned and Shanghai-based airline said it was set to sign a preliminary agreement today to join SkyTeam.

The decision has been welcomed by Delta Air Lines, one of the alliance’s leading members.

China’s third largest carrier had been courted by both SkyTeam and rival oneworld.

The alliance it has chosen to join already has rival carrier China Southern as a member.

China’s biggest carrier, Air China is a member of the third major airline grouping Star Alliance.

Richard Anderson, Delta’s ceo, said he was”honoured” that China Eastern had chosen SkyTeam.

He added: “China Eastern’s extensive network and growing hub in Shanghai will complement Delta’s existing service to China and improve our customers’ access to destinations across one of the world’s fastest-growing regions.”

China Eastern will become the tenth member of SkyTeam.

Among the alliance’s other leading members are Air France KLM and Aeroflot.

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