Etihad Airways and China Eastern announce landmark joint venture

Posted: 7 June 2024 | | No comments yet

A landmark joint venture between Etihad Airways and China Eastern has been signed in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and China Eastern Airlines have announced the signing of a Joint Venture (JV), cementing the strategic partnership between the two airlines (subject to governmental approvals and not involving equity investment).

The JV was signed at Etihad Airways’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the first commercial JV between a Middle Eastern airline and a Chinese airline.

This JV will allow the airlines to airlines to grow and jointly develop routes between China and the UAE, which will allow for a stronger network to grow.

This JV signifies a commitment to offering expanded travel options and seamless travel experiences for passengers travelling 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.

Etihad and China Eastern Airlines will implement the joint venture cooperation in early 2025 when both teams secure all necessary regulatory clearances. Additionally, both airlines will introduce full reciprocity to their existing frequent flyer programmes in the final quarter of 2024, allowing passengers to seamlessly earn points and redeem rewards when flying with either airline.

Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, emphasised the significance of the partnership. He said: “This JV marks a significant milestone in our partnership with China Eastern. The JV will allow Etihad and China Eastern to offer travellers 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.”

His Excellency Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, lauded the agreement as a landmark achievement, stating: “This Joint Venture signifies a deep commitment to strengthening the bonds between the UAE and China, while fostering deeper cultural and economic ties. We look forward to welcoming a greater number of Chinese tourists to explore the rich cultural heritage and vibrant experiences that the UAE has to offer. This partnership is more than the expansion of routes; it is about creating lasting and meaningful connections between our two nations which will stand for decades to come.”

China Eastern Airlines Chairman Wang Zhiqing said: “This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the UAE. Both countries continue to develop and strengthen the high-value, strategic collaboration on the Belt and Road Initiative, and this momentum creates 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.” 

Chairman Wang Zhiqing added: “Both China Eastern Airlines and Etihad Airways have strong global hubs, and our cooperation is highly complementary, covers a broad scope, and has great potential. We look forward to our collaboration creating more synergies, not only in facilitating passenger travel but also in building deeper economic, trade, and cultural exchanges between China and the UAE.”

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