Etihad, China Eastern Airlines | Launch joint Venture To Boost Connectivity

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ABU DHABI: The UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways, inked a new Joint Venture (JV) agreement on Wednesday with China Eastern Airlines to jointly develop and expand routes between the UAE and China, leveraging the carriers’ combined networks.

The JV, set to come into effect in early 2025, pending regulatory approvals, marks the first commercial JV between a Middle Eastern airline and a Chinese airline.

The latest partnership aims to provide enhanced 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, the Middle East, and Africa regions.

Additionally, under the agreement, both carriers will introduce full reciprocity to their existing frequent flyer programmes in the final quarter of 2024, enabling passengers to earn points and redeem rewards when flying with either airline.

“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,” Etihad Airways’ CEO, Antonoaldo Neves said, adding that the JV will “unlock a new era of travel opportunities, while also boosting the economic growth of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”

On his part, China Eastern Airlines Chairman, Wang Zhiqing, emphasised the significance of the partnership, stating, “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.”

The latest collaboration follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) inked on Monday between Etihad and Morocco’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, to boost commercial and operational cooperation, and offer travellers expanded choices, and enhanced services.

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