Etihad Airways and China Eastern Airlines announce partnership

Etihad Airways and China Eastern Airlines announce partnership

Joint venture will unlock travel opportunities and boost economic growth of Abu Dhabi

The UAE’s national airline, Etihad Airways, has undertaken an historic joint venture with China Eastern Airlines. 

The Etihad Airways-China Eastern Airlines partnership will allow the airlines to jointly develop and grow routes between the UAE and China, resulting in a stronger combined network. 

This agreement, signed at Etihad Airways’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi, marks the first commercial joint venture of its kind between a Middle Eastern airline and a Chinese airline.

Passengers will benefit from expanded travel options and seamless travel between major cities in China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Kunming, and in the UAE, as well as across the wider Middle East and Africa (MENA) region.

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 earn points and redeem rewards when flying with either airline.

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Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways Antonoaldo Neves said: "This joint venture marks a significant milestone in our partnership with China Eastern. It will allow Etihad and China Eastern to offer travellers enhanced travel options and exceptional value. We are confident the [joint venture] 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, adding: “This joint venture signifies a deep commitment to strengthening the bonds between the UAE and China, while fostering deeper cultural and economic ties.

“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. 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."

According to China Eastern Airlines Chairman, Wang Zhiqing, this year is an apt time to sign the deal as it marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the UAE. 

He said: “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."

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