China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) is reportedly in talks about joining Oneworld. China's biggest airline quit rival alliance Skyteam in 2018 and has since focused on individually negotiated partnerships and joint ventures. According to Bloomberg, oneworld member airlines are keen to recruit China Southern Airlines to tap into an anticipated travel boom in and out of China once that country winds back its travel restrictions, and membership discussions are underway.

oneworld has 13 full-member airlines including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, JAL - Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, and SriLankan Airlines while Oman Air is readying to join the group and Russia's S7 Airlines is currently suspended. oneworld is the smallest of the major airline alliances, with Star Alliance having 26 airlines in its ranks and SkyTeam having 18 member airlines.

oneworld did not respond directly to ch-aviation's questions but a spokesperson said the alliance continues to build its membership base. "At any point in time, we are in dialogue with potential candidates but do not comment on any specifics until those discussions have reached a level of maturity where public announcements can be made."

Notably, oneworld does not have a China-based member airline while SkyTeam includes China Eastern Airlines and Star Alliance has Air China and Shenzhen Airlines on its membership list. According to ch-aviation PRO airlines data, China Southern flies to 208 destinations in 31 countries. However, the airline's international operations remain heavily impacted by China's ongoing border closure and rules limiting flight frequencies on international sectors.

China Southern maintains links with a number of SkyTeam airlines and also has partnership ties with leading oneworld members British Airways, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, and Qantas. American Airlines, which is believed to be driving the membership talks, is China Southern's second-largest shareholder with a 5.83% stake. American Airlines did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.