China Eastern to enter into joint venture with Virgin Atlantic, Air France and KLM
CHINA Eastern has signed a joint venture agreement with Virgin Atlantic, Air France and KLM that would open up more air routes between Europe and China
CHINA Eastern has signed a joint venture agreement with Virgin Atlantic, Air France and KLM that would open up more air routes between Europe and China.
Based at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, China Eastern already operates as a joint venture partner with Air France and KLM on a number of flights between China, Amsterdam and Paris. If the new agreement gains regulatory approval, it would formally replace the current joint venture China Eastern has with Virgin Atlantic's future partners, Air France and KLM.
The addition of Virgin Atlantic adds value to the joint venture. For full-year 2018, the airline registered six per cent growth in cargo volume to 244,000 tonnes. Growth was achieved across the majority of commodities carried, with high-value segments such as pharmaceuticals recording a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in volume, reported American Shipper.
The carriers in the joint venture stand to profit from trade with China as the world's second-largest market for pharmaceuticals. China Eastern and affiliates operate a network of international and domestic services from main hubs at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. The carrier operates a modern fleet of 750 cargo and passenger aircraft.
China Eastern cargo subsidiary China Cargo Airlines is China's first all-cargo airline operating dedicated freight services across the China Eastern route structure. Parent company China Eastern Air Holding Co (CEHC) has total assets valued at US$50 billion, with the Chinese government holding a 62 per cent stake in the airline.
With Virgin Atlantic joining the existing partnership between China Eastern, Air France and KLM, the enlarged cooperation will help optimise connectivity across Europe and China. China Eastern plans to seek a codeshare agreement for the first time on Virgin Atlantic services between London and Shanghai.