On Monday, November 26, Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines signed an agreement to extend their joint venture partnership. Among those present were Liu Shaoyong, Chairman of China Eastern Airlines, Tang Bing, EVP of China Eastern Airlines, Anne-Marie Couderc Chairman of Air France-KLM and Air France, Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM and Air France, and Pieter Elbers, KLM President and CEO.
As part of this enhanced agreement, the three SkyTeam airlines (Air France, KLM, and China Eastern Airlines) will extend their joint venture partnership as of January 1, 2019 on two additional routes, Paris–Wuhan and Paris–Kunming. Air France, KLM, and China Eastern will offer their respective customers new codeshare and connection opportunities. Air France-KLM and China Eastern are thus continuing to develop their strategic commercial partnership aimed at offering an ever-expanding range of services to customers travelling between Europe and China.
"I am very pleased to be finalizing this agreement with China Eastern,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM and CEO of Air France. "It solidifies our objectives, as outlined in July. Our strong and long term strategic partnership with China Eastern Airlines offers our customers even more extensive and harmonized benefits across all airlines. China is an essential market for the Air France-KLM Group, with strong growth, and we must be able to offer our customers the best possible travel experience."
Liu Shaoyong, Chairman of China Eastern Airlines added: "It is really a pleasure to witness this historical moment in cooperation with Air France and KLM. The document we signed today is not only an extension of our Joint Venture Agreement, but also an indication of our continuous joint commitment to provide best possible service to our customers, with better connections and a larger variety of flight choice. Entering into this second phase of Joint Venture, China Eastern Airlines, will further enhance the cooperation with Air France and KLM, and jointly serve the travelling public with our best resources.”
Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines, a solid and long-lasting relationship
Air France and China Eastern started their cooperation in 2000 in the form of a codeshare agreement on the Paris–Shanghai route. The partnership was formalised in 2012 thanks to a joint venture agreement. KLM joined this joint venture in 2016, extending the agreement to the Amsterdam–Shanghai route.
Since October 2017, China Eastern has held 8.8% of Air France-KLM’s share capital, and has one member on the Air France-KLM Board of Directors.