Virgin Atlantic has signed a codeshare agreement with China Eastern. With both carriers being members of the SkyTeam alliance, passengers from both carriers will benefit from seamless connections to the other’s services at London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) respectively.
The new codeshare is seen by both carriers as vital for the strengthening of business and leisure connections between the United Kingdom to East Asia and providing greater access to more destinations throughout China. China remains one of the most important trading partners to the UK and as the country’s largest city, Shanghai is a world-renowned commercial and financial hub.
Virgin Atlantic resumed scheduled passenger services in its own right to Shanghai in May 2023, following the COVID pandemic.
The first phase of the agreement allows Virgin Atlantic customers traveling on the carrier’s daily Boeing 787-9 service between London and Shanghai to connect seamlessly onwards to other destinations in China served by China Eastern using a single booking. Destinations covered under the terms of the agreement include Chengdu, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Xi’an to start with, with others expected to follow.
The second stage of the agreement will allow China Eastern passengers flying from Shanghai to London-Heathrow to connect to a range of eastbound Virgin Atlantic services to destinations in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa. This part of the agreement remains subject to obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals.
China Eastern uses Boeing 777-300ERs on its double-daily Shanghai to London-Heathrow services. It also flies a daily service from Shanghai to London-Gatwick Airport, and also regularly serves London-Stansted with its dedicated freighter aircraft.
“China and East Asia are incredibly important regions for Virgin Atlantic and we were delighted to welcome back our Heathrow to Shanghai service last year, providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services,” said Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic.
“Our new codeshare with China Eastern, a fellow SkyTeam partner, will serve the continued demand for travel to the region and strengthens our commitment to China and East Asia. We know these agreements bring plenty of benefits to our customers, from increased network scope to China and beyond, to reciprocal loyalty rewards for our Flying Club members,” he added.
China Eastern has been a long-term member of the SkyTeam alliance, which Virgin Atlantic joined in 2023. Since November 2023, both airlines have been co-located at Shanghai Pudong Terminal One. With the two airlines under the same roof in Shanghai, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold and Silver members and China Eastern Miles members can take advantage of various SkyPriority services, including priority check-in, boarding, and extra baggage allowances.
The codeshare also allows Flying Club members the opportunity to earn Virgin Points and Tier Points on every codeshare flight with China Eastern, with the option to spend Virgin Points on China Eastern flights expected to follow soon.