Air France-KLM is extending its footprint in Asia by cementing an existing collaboration with China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

Current joint-venture agreements are being merged to create stronger links between the partners to offer seamless travel for passengers.

The four airlines carry some 1.25 million passengers between Europe and China on their joint operated routes a year.

Connecting the networks of the four carriers will give travellers a “wide choice” of destinations connecting Paris and Amsterdam to the Chinese gateways of Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Xiamen.

Transfer and connection times are also being optimised.

Air France-KLM passengers can also earn Flying Blue Miles on all flights operated within the joint venture formed by the four airlines.

KLM president and chief executive Pieter Elbers said: “In 2016 we celebrated ten years joint venture between KLM and China Southern, today we merge the existing two joint-ventures into one.

“I’m proud of this joint venture because it serves to further intensify Air France-KLM’s interests in China. Joining forces offers our customers an extensive, seamless network within China and Europe.”

Commercial, sales and alliance executive vice president Patrick Alexandre added: “We are proud to pursue our co-operation with China Southern and Xiamen Airlines by combining the existing joint ventures.

“Our single joint venture will at the same time preserve the benefits our customers enjoy and safeguard Air France-KLM’s position in China.”

The airlines will also closely co-operate in other areas, such as airport handling, catering and aircraft maintenance services.