The move to strengthen the cooperation with one of the Chinese “Big Three” airlines was decided after China Eastern contributed €168 million to a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) share issue backed by the French government.
“The commitment of our long-standing partner China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) to participate in the forthcoming capital increase also highlights a resolute confidence in the strengths and prospects of the Air France-KLM Group,” was written in an Air France-KLM statement on April 6, 2021.
According to the European air carrier, both airline groups are set to intensify collaboration in commercial and non-commercial activities related to ground handling, catering, or maintenance services.
Additionally, the scope of Air France-KLM and China Eastern partnership would expand through code-sharing operations, linking flights from Beijing to Paris and Amsterdam once international air travel recovers.
“With this expansion of the cooperation between Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA), both airline groups clearly are clearly paving the way to create the most efficient and powerful Joint Venture between Europe and China,” read Air France-KLM’s statement.
Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) started their partnership in 2000 with a codeshare agreement on the Paris to Shanghai route. In 2017, China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA) took an equity stake in Air France-KLM. Currently, the Chinese air carrier holds an 8,8% equity stake in Air France-KLM, subject to a 10% agreed cap.