Etihad Airways, China Eastern enter strategic partnership, sign joint venture


Etihad Airways has announced the signing of a Joint Venture (JV) with China Eastern Airlines to cement the strategic partnership between the two airlines.

According to Etihad, the JV, signed at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, marks the first commercial joint venture between Middle Eastern and Chinese airlines. 

The JV will allow the two airlines to develop and grow routes between the UAE and China, resulting in a stronger combined network.

The agreement will offer expanded travel options and seamless travel experiences for passengers traveling between major Chinese cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, and Kunming, and key cities in the UAE and across the Middle East and Africa regions.

The two airlines are also set to introduce full reciprocity to their existing frequent flier programs in the final quarter of 2024, allowing passengers to earn points and redeem rewards when flying with either airline.

The joint venture cooperation will be implemented in early 2025, by which time both airlines should have secured all necessary regulatory clearances. 

“This JV marks a significant milestone in our partnership with China Eastern,” Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways said in a statement. He added that the agreement will allow Etihad and China Eastern to offer travelers enhanced travel options and “exceptional value”.

“We are confident the JV will unlock a new era of travel opportunities, while also boosting the economic growth of Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” Antonoaldo said.

Meanwhile, China Eastern Airlines Chairman Wang Zhiqing has highlighted that 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the UAE.

Wang said that both countries continue to develop and strengthen the “high-value, strategic collaboration on the Belt and Road Initiative”, creating opportunities and motivation for deepening cooperation between China Eastern Airlines and Etihad Airways. 

“The signing of this JV signifies a new level of collaboration, and China Eastern is eager to work with Etihad Airways to expand the cooperation in the various business areas, and thereby enhance the strategic partnership between both airlines,” Wang said. 

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