Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern strengthen travel links with codeshare

Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern have announced a strategic partnership through a new codeshare agreement, reinforcing vital business and leisure ties to East Asia and expanding access to various destinations within China.

In the initial phase of this collaboration, passengers booking through Virgin Atlantic can seamlessly connect from the airline’s Heathrow to Shanghai services to multiple destinations in China, such as Chengdu, Changsha, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Xi’an. Tickets for these flights are now available.

In reciprocation, China Eastern customers, pending government approval, will soon be able to connect via Heathrow to Caribbean and African destinations, including Jamaica, Nassau, Lagos, Cape Town, and Johannesburg. Both airlines are members of the SkyTeam alliance, with Virgin Atlantic having joined last year. The two carriers have been co-located at Shanghai Pudong Terminal One since November, providing benefits such as SkyPriority services for Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold and Silver members and China Eastern Miles members, encompassing priority check-in, boarding, and additional baggage allowances.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘China and East Asia is an incredibly important region for Virgin Atlantic and we were delighted to welcome back our Heathrow to Shanghai service last year, providing vital links to one of the UK’s largest trading partners, for both passenger and cargo services.

‘Our new codeshare with China Eastern, a fellow SkyTeam partner, will serve continued demand for travel to the region and strengthens our commitment to China and East Asia. We know these agreements bring plenty of benefits to our customers, from increased network scope to China and beyond, to reciprocal loyalty rewards for our Flying Club members.’

The expanded codeshare not only facilitates a smoother travel experience but also offers Virgin Flying Club members accelerated rewards, with opportunities to earn both Virgin Points and Tier Points on every codeshare flight with China Eastern. The option to redeem Virgin Points is anticipated to be available shortly.

Virgin Atlantic resumed its Shanghai services on May 1, 2023, post the global pandemic, recognizing China’s significance as one of the UK’s most crucial trading partners. Shanghai, being the country’s largest city and a renowned commercial and financial hub, plays a pivotal role in fostering international connectivity and economic relationships.

Etihad enters into code sharing agreement with Irish carrier

UAE-based Etihad Airways and Ireland-based Aer Lingus have entered into a new code-sharing agreement.

The two air carriers have signed an interline and codeshare agreement. The deal follows a recent purchase of 2.987 percent equity in the Irish air carrier by the UAE airline. The agreement signed by the two companies means that Etihad Airways will place its ‘EY’ code on Aer Lingus flights between Dublin, Manchester and London Heathrow, and destinations in Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands, Portugal, Netherlands and the US. The move will be reciprocated by Aer Lingus, which will place its ‘EI’ code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and Dublin.

The Irish airline will also have full access to flights across the network beyond Abu Dhabi to points that include Australia, Asia-Pacific, the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East. The new agreement has increased Etihad Airways’ code-share agreements with airlines across the world to 36.

James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad Airways, said, ‘We are delighted to announce this new codeshare agreement with Aer Lingus which will provide Etihad Airways’ customers with new travel options and flight connections to Ireland, the UK, continental Europe, and across the Atlantic to Boston and New York. The codeshare agreement is an early indication of the success of Etihad Airways’ strategic plan to acquire equity in Aer Lingus and other airlines and the instant benefit it brings to both airlines’ customers around the world.’

The two firms have also disclosed that they were working towards a closer business relationship.