Oneworld has approached China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) over potential membership as it seeks a mainland China carrier, the South China Morning Post has reported.

Alliance CEO Rob Gurney confirmed that he had spoken with the carrier, but underlined that formal talks are yet to begin. He added that the last talks had taken place before China Southern announced that it would leave Skyteam.

Oneworld does not currently have any member carriers in mainland China, although Cathay Pacific (CX, Hong Kong Int'l) is a founding member of the alliance. In Asia, JAL - Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda), SriLankan Airlines (UL, Colombo Int'l), and Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) are all members of Oneworld, too.

In turn, both Skyteam and Star Alliance have mainland Chinese members with China Eastern Airlines (MU, Shanghai Hongqiao) and Air China (CA, Beijing Capital) being the largest (remaining) members, respectively.

"There are still areas where we can potentially deepen our coverage, there is no doubt about that. We are talking to potential members to help meet some of that," Gurney said.

American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth), a Oneworld carrier, holds a 2.76% stake in China Southern Airlines.