Etihad Airways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Eastern Airlines, encompassing joint route and schedule coordination and codesharing between the UAE and China.
The landmark agreement was signed at a meeting in Shanghai between president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways James Hogan and China Eastern Airlines chairman Liu Shaoyong.
The MoU also includes codesharing on each other's networks, full frequent flyer reciprocity, reciprocal airport lounge access, joint product development, and technical and cargo cooperation.
Hogan said the MoU with China Eastern Airlines was an important development in Etihad Airways' China 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," Hogan said.
"It will allow both airlines to offer their customers greater choice in terms of destinations and schedules and practical benefits like reciprocal lounge access and the ability to earn and burn on each other flights – so a win-win for the business and for travellers across our combined global networks.
"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."
Shaoyong said: "China Eastern is very pleased to cooperate with Etihad Airways and cherishes this partnership. The signing of the MoU has great significance in terms of further strengthening the airlines' codesharing, on-ground agent service and frequent flyer program benefits."