Etihad Airways And China Eastern Airlines Announce Joint Venture

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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, and China Eastern Airlines, a leading global airline, have signed a Joint Venture (JV) to further their strategic partnership¹.

This historic agreement, signed at Etihad Airways’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi, is the first commercial partnership between a Middle Eastern and a Chinese airline.

The Etihad Airways-China Eastern Airlines joint venture will allow the airlines to develop and expand services between the UAE and China, resulting in a stronger combined network.

This joint venture represents a commitment to providing enhanced travel alternatives and seamless travel experiences for passengers traveling between important Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, and Kunming, as well as significant locations in the UAE and throughout the Middle East and Africa regions.

Etihad and China Eastern Airlines will begin their joint venture in early 2025, once both sides have obtained all essential regulatory permits. Furthermore, in the fourth quarter of 2024, both airlines will implement complete reciprocity in their existing frequent flyer programmes, allowing passengers to earn and redeem points easily when flying with either airline.

Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, Antonoaldo Neves, stressed the importance of the collaboration. He stated, “This JV marks a significant milestone in our partnership with China Eastern. The JV 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.”

His Excellency Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group, praised the agreement as a watershed moment, saying: “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 stated, “This year commemorates the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the UAE. Both nations are continuing to grow and strengthen their high-value, strategic engagement on the Belt and Road Initiative, which creates opportunity and motivation for China Eastern Airlines and Etihad Airways to increase their cooperation. The signing of this JV marks a new level of engagement, and China Eastern is excited to cooperate with Etihad Airways to deepen cooperation in many business areas, therefore strengthening both airlines’ strategic partnership.”

Chairman Wang Zhiqing remarked, “Both China Eastern Airlines and Etihad Airways have powerful global hubs, and our collaboration is extremely complementary, broad-based, and has enormous potential. We look forward to increasing synergies through our collaboration, not only in facilitating passenger travel but also in deepening economic, trade, and cultural relations between China and the UAE.”

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