Toronto - Air Canada and Air China will expand their codeshare agreement to new destinations in Canada, China, and Cuba, as well as access to their airport lounges while working for a joint venture.

The expansion of code sharing between the two Star Alliance member airline operators is expected to take effect in April 2018, which is subject to regulatory and government approvals. Following this agreement, Air China will add its "CA" code on flights operated by Air Canada from Montreal to Shanghai and from Vancouver to Victoria, Kelowna, Saskatoon, and Regina.

Air Canada, meanwhile, will add its code "AC" on Air China flights from Beijing to Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, and Nanjing and on the Montreal-Havana route.

The two airlines have also expanded their agreement regarding access to their lounges. In addition to Star Alliance Gold customers, all Air China First and Business customers will now have access to Air Canada's Maple Leaf lounges for international flights to Montreal and Vancouver. Eligible Air Canada customers will retain their access to Air China lounges in Beijing, Shanghai and at the other airports throughout China.

The air travel market between Canada and China has been growing at an average annual rate of 14% over the last 6 years and according to IATA, the trend is expected to continue,
said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada.

Rovinescu also said that the two companies are working to finalize their final joint venture agreement, which will deepen the cooperation in the areas of planning and sales to offer customers of both carriers additional travel options on the respective networks.

Air Canada currently markets Air China-operated codeshare flights between Beijing and Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xi'an and Shenyang, as well as the Beijing-Montreal and Beijing-Vancouver routes. At the same time, Air China markets flights operated by Air Canada between Vancouver and Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg, as well as between Montreal and Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg, but also from Vancouver and Toronto to Beijing and Shanghai.

Air Canada provides up to 35 flights a week between Canada and China, connecting Beijing and Shanghai to Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Air China operates up to 11 flights a week between China and Canada from Beijing to Vancouver and Montreal.