British Airways is spreading its wings further into Asia by signing a joint business deal with China Southern Airlines.

The arrangement will allow the airlines to co-operate on scheduling and pricing, “providing customers with more flexible flight options and an attractive range of fares”.

The two airlines will initially code-share on all direct flights operated on routes between London and the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan and Zhengzhou.

The agreement from January 2, 2020, builds on a codeshare pact across ten routes sealed two years ago.

The two carriers signed a memorandum of understanding at the start of the year to expand the agreement on each other’s networks and implement reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.

BA passengers will be offered a combined route network which will develop over time thanks to both airlines’ move to the giant new Beijing Daxing International airport.

The UK carrier was the first international airline to switch its operations to Beijing Daxing in October.

Customer benefits include greater opportunities to collect frequent flyer points, the ability to book through both airlines’ web or app-based platforms and enhanced lounge access, according to the airline.

BA chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz said: “We are delighted to announce this joint business which will bring the UK and China closer together by providing British Airways and China Southern Airlines customers with a wide range of benefits.

“The agreement reinforces our commitment to boost tourism and business travel between the two countries and we look forward to strengthening the relationship further.”