China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) has announced it will leave Skyteam next year as it pursues an independent development strategy. The carrier joined the alliance back in November 2007.

In a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, China Southern said that in light of its development strategy and to better align with increased global cooperation throughout the aviation industry, its board of directors had decided against renewing its membership of Skyteam effective January 1, 2019.

The carrier said it will work with Skyteam for the duration of its transition out of the alliance which will take place later on in 2019. Its Xiamen Airlines (MF, Xiamen) subsidiary will, however, remain part of Skyteam despite its parent's departure.

"The Company [China Southern] will explore the possibility of establishing new partnerships with other airlines around the world, promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and provide quality services to passengers around the world," it said.

An airline source later told Reuters that the board did not believe the benefits of remaining in Skyteam justified the cost. As such, it will consider joining Oneworld but has not yet made a decision and would not do so immediately, the source added.