February 22, 2024

Etihad and China Eastern Airlines to strengthen ties

Etihad Airways and China Eastern Airlines have signalled their intent to strengthen their partnership.

They have signed a Strategic Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance commercial and operational ties.

This will include an expanded codeshare, reciprocal loyalty programmes, ground handling, catering, lounge access, staff training, and several sustainability initiatives.

The MoU should facilitate China Eastern’s ambition to begin services to Abu Dhabi through its discussions with Abu Dhabi Airports, the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi and other key stakeholders in the UAE capital.

A combination of Etihad and China Eastern services, which would coincide with the newly opened Terminal A at Abu Dhabi International Airport, will “create a robust platform” for China-UAE air traffic and establish an ideal launchpad for connections between China, the Middle East, and Africa.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Our two airlines have operated an enduring partnership for over a decade. This MoU is an important milestone and a key to establishing a long-term mutually beneficial cooperation.

“I am highly encouraged by the momentum of our cooperation, and I look forward to seeing further success. It also marks a significant development of the direct links between Abu Dhabi and China and underscores the confidence of one of the most influential Chinese carriers in Etihad. The MoU paves the way for an agreement that will boost Abu Dhabi’s economic development, as well as supporting China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’”

Li Yangmin, President of China Eastern Airlines Group, said: “The MoU builds upon our existing co-operation. It makes possible an agreement that would allow us to collaborate in real and practical ways as part of the continually flourishing relationship between China and the UAE.

“The connection between China Eastern’s Shanghai hub and Etihad’s network through Abu Dhabi will significantly enhance our footprint in the Middle East and Africa. It supports our commitment to the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and the ‘Aerial Silk Road,’ stimulating economic, trade and cultural exchanges between China and partner countries.”