Etihad Airways announced it has signed a new codeshare agreement with China Eastern Airlines as part of its major worldwide expansion plans.
The UAE’s flag carrier inked the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in China that enables both the airlines to encompass joint route and schedule coordination and codesharing between the UAE and China, subject to regulatory approval.
The announcement comes weeks after a similar agreement with Hainan Airlines. An ‘HU’ code is placed on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and the Chinese airline’s three gateway cities in Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai as part of the deal.
Under latest deal will enable both the airlines to full frequent flyer reciprocity, airport lounge access, joint product development, and technical and cargo cooperation.
James Hogan, Etihad’s CEO, insisted the MoU with China Eastern Airlines was an important part of the airlines’ China expansion strategy.
“The partnership with China Eastern Airlines will allow us to extend our reach into the dynamic Chinese travel market in a commercially viable and mutually beneficial way,” he said.
“We will explore further opportunities to expand the cooperation with China Eastern Airlines and would welcome them operating to and beyond our home base in Abu Dhabi,” the Etihad Airways’ CEO hoped.
Liu Shaoyong, chairman of China Eastern Airlines, added: “China Eastern is very pleased to cooperate with Etihad Airways and cherishes this partnership.”
Etihad Airways started flights between Abu Dhabi and Shanghai earlier this month with an aim of expanding services by mid April. The Abu Dhabi airline currently operates five weekly Airbus A330-300 services to Shanghai’s main international airport – Pudong (PVG).