Category Archives: China Eastern Airlines

Airbus delivers first A350 from its widebody completion and delivery center in China

Airbus has delivered the first A350 from its widebody completion and delivery center in Tianjin (C&DC), China, taking additional steps in the expansion of its global footprint and long-term strategic partnership with China.

The A350-900 aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines, the largest Airbus operator in Asia and second largest in the world. At the end of June 2021, China Eastern Airlines operated an Airbus fleet of 413 aircraft, including 349 A320 Family aircraft, 55 A330 Family aircraft and nine A350 aircraft.

“I’m proud that Airbus successfully extended the capability of the widebody C&DC in Tianjin to the A350, the latest new generation aircraft, at such a difficult time of global aviation,” said George Xu, Airbus Executive Vice President and Airbus China CEO. “This is a new milestone in the long-term cooperation between China and Airbus, which further demonstrates Airbus’ commitment to the country. Congratulations to China Eastern Airlines, our long-term strategic partner, for receiving the first A350 delivered from China, and I appreciate their trust in Airbus and in our products as always.”

Located at the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre, the widebody C&DC covers the aircraft completion activities, including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery.

The centre was inaugurated in September 2017 with its capability on A330s. Then, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to China in 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Further Development of Industrial Cooperation was signed in Beijing by He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, and Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer, announcing the C&DC would extend its capability to A350 aircraft.

The A350 features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon-fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions. The A350’s ‘Airspace by Airbus’ cabin is the quietest of any widebody aircraft and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience.

At the end of June 2021, the A350 Family had received 915 firm orders from 49 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines to reinforce their partnership

Air France-KLM has made this announcement:

In the context of the participation of China Eastern Airlines to the share capital increase of Air France-KLM, both airline groups have decided to extend the scope of their partnership through:

     an intensified commercial cooperation and an extended collaboration to noncommercial related activities (e.g. ground services, catering or maintenance) ;

      an increased footprint on the Beijing market, with the Paris-Beijing and Amsterdam-Beijing routes joining the current Joint Venture existing between Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines when conditions are satisfied.

Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines are historical partners, with a codeshare cooperation that started in 2000 on the Paris-Shanghai route, a first Joint Venture agreement signed between Air France and China Eastern Airlines in 2012, and an extension of this
agreement to KLM in 2016. China Eastern Airlines took an equity stake in Air France-KLM in 2017, shaping the ambition for a long term strategic partnership.

With this expansion of the cooperation between Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines, both airline groups clearly are clearly paving the way to create the most efficient and powerful Joint Venture between Europe and China.

China Eastern flies vaccines to the Dominican Republic

China Eastern flies vaccines to Dominican Republic.

China Eastern Airlines has made this announcement:

A new batch of vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical companies Sinopharm and Sinovac was delivered on March 18 by China Eastern Airlines from Beijing to the Dominican Republic, according to the Shanghai-based airline.

After 17 hours 34 minutes’ flight, the vaccines and syringes traveled 15,988 kilometers to arrive at Santo Domingo, the capital of Dominican Republic.

This is China’s first intercontinental chartered cargo flight to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Eastern Air Logistics Co, the freight unit under China Eastern Airlines, was in charge of this flight.

Dominican Republic Vice-President and Head of Health Cabinet Raquel Pena welcomed the arrival of the Chinese developed vaccines at the airport, saying the Chinese vaccines brought hope to the Dominican Republic’s people.

Quite a few countries have expressed their willingness to purchase and use China’s COVID-19 vaccines. Shipping via air is the best transportation solution when it comes to convenience, efficiency and safety.

China Eastern reduces its grounded fleet at Shanghai to zero

China Eastern Airlines has made this announcement:

The grounded fleet size of China Eastern Airlines has fallen to zero at its Shanghai base, the carrier said in a note sent to the Global Times on March 12, 2021, another sign that the aviation market is recovering.

At present, China Eastern’s average daily passenger flight volume has recovered to about 2,400. It is expected that there will be a surge in travel during the upcoming Chinese traditional festivals such as Qingming Festival and the May Day holidays.

The carrier said it will add flights between cities such as BeijingGuangzhou in South China’s Guangdong Province and Chengdu in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province in the future.

In 2020, the epidemic brought huge challenges to the global aviation industry. The global air transport volume dropped by 60 percent to 70 percent compared with the previous year. The parking problem of a large number of aircraft also became prominent as more and more airports simply became parking lots.

According to statistics from the International Air Transport Association, 13,700 aircraft, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total fleet in global were grounded.

China’s major domestic airlines have also reduced the number of flights. Meanwhile, many of the parked planes have either been overhauled or modified, and they must be inspected and maintained regularly in order to avoid corrosion of the aircraft and degradation of battery performance.

China Eastern Airlines has been the least badly affected among China’s three major airlines in terms of grounded aircraft.

China Eastern Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

China Eastern Airlines aircraft slide show:

China Eastern Airlines officially signs a purchase contract for five C919 aircraft

COMAC has issued this statement:

As the world’s first launch customer of the China-made trunk liner C919, China Eastern Airlines officially signed a purchase contract of C919 aircraft with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) in Shanghai on March 1, 2021.

Five C919 aircraft would be introduced in the first batch, and China Eastern Airlines would become the world’s first airline to operate C919 aircraft. This is an important step for China Eastern Airlines in the introduction and commercial operation of the China-made trunk liner as a pioneer after the successful establishment of One Two Three Airlines (OTT Airlines) to operate China-made ARJ21 aircraft and in the first year to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan.

C919 aircraft is a large jet aircraft independently developed by China and owns independent intellectual property right. The aircraft has completed its maiden flight at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on May 5th, 2017. Since the beginning of the development of C919 aircraft, China Eastern Airlines has been striving to become a facilitator of the improvement and optimization of China-made civil aircraft, an explorer of commercial operation mode and a pioneer of market operation. China Eastern Airlines has signed a launch customer agreement and a Letter of Intent for purchasing C919 aircraft with COMAC in 2010; signed a Framework Cooperation Agreement with COMAC in November 2016 during the 11th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, becoming the world’s first user of C919 aircraft; signed an ARJ21-700 Aircraft Sales Agreement with COMAC in Beijing in August 2019; taken the lead among large state-owned backbone air transport enterprises to set up the first airline specialized in the operation of China-made civil aircraft, i.e., OTT Airlines, in February 2020 during the most severe period of the epidemic of COVID-19, and officially put the China-made ARJ21 aircraft into operation.

China Eastern Airlines has been deeply involved in the design and development of C919 aircraft, trained and provided the first C919 flight crew to fly a jet as a companion during the maiden flight of C919 aircraft, and provided suggestions from the perspectives of customer use and maintenance. Relying on the industrial chain partnership and the geographical advantage of being both in Shanghai, China Eastern Airlines and COMAC have constantly promoted cooperation and innovation on the industrial chain, and jointly explored new practices in the commercial operation of C919 aircraft.

China Eastern introduces a CIIE-themed Boeing 777-300

China Eastern Airlines made this announcement:

The high-profile China International Import Expo (CIIE)-themed airplane will fly to Sri Lanka, the last destination of its global tour, on Sept. 18.

The plane will fly to Beijing Daxing International Airport on Sept. 25 to mark the first anniversary of the airport’s operation.

The special CIIE-themed aircraft was jointly launched by China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and the CIIE Bureau on July 2 and made its maiden flight to Pairs one day later, marking the beginning of its global tour.

Serving as the image ambassador of the CIIE during its global tour, the aircraft will fly to 10 countries, including France, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Sri Lanka, with a total range exceeding 100,000 kilometers.

Meanwhile, the CIIE-themed airplane has attracted great attention from international aviation enthusiasts for its gorgeous appearance and “Fly with CIIE” has become a hot topic on social media platforms.

A Boeing 777-300ER jet (B-2002), which is CEA’s international long-haul flagship aircraft with the largest passenger capacity, the longest range, and leading passenger service system, was chosen as the world’s first CIIE-themed airplane.

The dominant tones of the colored aircraft were the shades of yellow and blue, which are also the theme colors of the CIIE. Besides, the CIIE’s mascot panda “Jinbao” holding a four-leaf clover on the plane expresses good wishes to passengers from all over the world and promotes the CIIE’s idea of openness and cooperation.

CIIE exhibitors from various countries expressed their expectations about the flight schedules of the plane after they were released.

Australian vitamin maker Blackmores has participated in the expo in the past two years and will take part in the third CIIE.

“It’s a very important platform for international cooperation for all companies participating in the China International Import Expo. Encouraging exporters and importers to share some innovations and new products is also important,” said the company’s CEO Alastair Symington, expressing his expectation to attend the third CIIE in Shanghai.

Besides, CEA launched full-process featured services such as CIIE-themed passenger entertainment system, broadcast and boarding passes, and given a CIIE-themed makeover at overseas airports including CIIE mascot dolls, CIIE-themed airplane models, and billboards of the aircraft’s global tour, providing an immersive experience for passengers. A large number of passengers stopped to take pictures.

CEA also chose the digit 115 as a lucky number, which indicates Nov. 5, the opening day of the expo, to present CIIE souvenirs to the passenger with the check-in serial number of 115 on the airplane’s each flight.

The CIIE-themed plane will fly to Beijing Daxing International Airport on Sept. 25 to mark the first anniversary of the airport’s operation. It will also continue its domestic tour in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, and Kunming to support local governments and enterprises in attending and publicizing the CIIE. The plane will mainly operate flights between Beijing and Shanghai during the third CIIE from Nov. 5 to 10.

As the seventh-largest airline in the world and the largest main base airline in Shanghai, the host for the CIIE, CEA will play multi-roles of a sponsor, carrier, purchaser, and service provider.

CEA will seize the opportunities brought by the expo to realize “purchasing, flying and serving worldwide.” It will continue to optimize the external cooperation of the aviation industry chain, serve the expo, and inject new vitality and new impetus into the internationalization strategy and high-quality development of enterprises for mutual benefits.

China Eastern to launch Sanya International Airlines

China Eastern Airlines has announced it is joining forces with Hainan Communications Investment Holdings, Sanya Development Holdings, Juneyao Airlines and Ctrip Travel Network Technology to form a new airline despite COVID-19.

China Eastern will control 51 percent of the shares of Sanya International Airlines which will be based at Sanya Phoenix International Airport on the island of Hainan.

China Eastern converts 14 Airbus A330s to bring medical supplies to Europe

China Eastern Airlines has made this announcement:

At 09:09 AM June 5 local time, a China Eastern Airlines (CEA) “passenger to cargo” flight MU7263 took off from Jinan to Milan fully loaded with over 20 tons of supplies. This is CEA’s 22nd flight transporting medical equipment directly from China to Italy.

CEA performed 300 cargo flights per week recently. As of May, CEA performed accumulatively 4,000 flights involved in humanitarian and relief missions, carried 23,000 medical personnel and transported 10,000 tons of medical supplies among 20 countries across the globe.

Helps Stabilize Global Supply Chain

On March 12, CEA brought 9 Chinese medical experts and 9 tons of supplies to Rome, which is the first international aiding flight received by Italy. Up to now, 3 groups of medical experts and 200 tons of medical supplies have been delivered to Italy by CEA.

CEA is leading to use “passenger to cargo” planes for global medical supplies. CEA has transformed 14 Airbus A330 passenger planes by removing seats; consequently the original 90 square meters space is doubled. As the main type of plane model on the route between Europe and China, the modified A330 planes play a more important role during the special time. CEA transported 2,000 tons of medical supplies to Europe, connecting lives between China and over 20 cities in Europe.

When it comes to stabilizing global supply chain, CEA service is not limited to transporting capacity but covers comprehensive one-stop logistics supply service, including land transportation, airport service and customs clearance.

Methodically Passenger Service and Employee Protection

Pushing the time to February, CEA Europe Marketing Center has been working around the clock to coordinate with all the European airports, refund tickets and redesign travel routes for passengers. At the busiest time, Europe call center handled more than 4,000 emails and a sea of consultation calls in just one weekend.

In terms of employee protection, CEA has timely issued guidelines on internal work environment, daily prevention requirements and care measures for 100 thousand employees, especially for the people in Europe who stand out in the busiest frontline. The preliminary preparations have played an essential role in handling the following hard time.

Resting at home, CEA’s European employees did not forget about people around. Giada Pulcinelli, an Italian flight attendant, helped neighbors with limited mobility to purchase necessary supplies; initiated a public welfare fundraising to provide food for people. She keeps online learning for the best professional status to gets ready to the sky at anytime.

Headquartered in Shanghai, CEA is one of China’s three major airlines with 18 subsidiary companies and 109 sales offices worldwide. After 63 years of development, CEA’s fleet has reached more than 750 aircrafts with an average age of 6.4 years. As a SkyTeam member, CEA’s route network reaches more than 170 countries and 1,036 destinations, serving more than 130 million passengers worldwide each year, and the passenger traffic ranks among the top 10 in the world. In June 2016, CEA has opened four European routes in a week consecutively.

China Eastern Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

China Eastern unveils OTT Airlines

From Reuters:

“China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd launched on February 26 a fresh subsidiary – OTT Airlines – to push home-grown aircraft to wider markets, the carrier said on its official account on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

The Shanghai-based airline said OTT Airlines, which translates to ‘one two three’ in Chinese, would be the first airline to operate Commercial Aircraft Corp of China’s (COMAC) C919 narrow-body planes, which are undergoing flight testing.

China Eastern was initially slated to be the first operator.

The C919 was designed to compete with the Airbus SE A320 family and the Boeing Co 737 MAX model that remains grounded after two deadly crashes.

OTT will also operate COMAC’s regional jet – the ARJ21 (above). Last August, China Eastern ordered 35 of the planes on the same day as fellow state-backed carriers Air China Ltd and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd.

China’s C919 single-aisle plane has already received 815 provisional orders, but very few from airlines or leasing companies outside the Asian country.

Meanwhile, COMAC is seeking certification from the European aviation regulator to help it operate in many other countries.”

China Eastern, Virgin Atlantic, Air France and KLM announce its intention to launch a joint venture

China Eastern Airlines made this announcement:

On October 16, 2019 China Eastern has announced its intention to enter into a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic, Air France and KLM, providing more valuable and attractive joint commercial propositions for customers between Europe and China.

China Eastern currently has joint venture with Air France and KLM by working together on a portfolio of flights between China and Paris, Amsterdam. With Virgin Atlantic joining the existing partnership between China Eastern, Air France and KLM, the enlarged cooperation will offer strengthened customer benefits including increased travel options and optimized connectivity across Europeand China,further facilitated by a developed joint network, as well as competitive joint commercial propositions.

The China to United Kingdom markets are expected to be pivotal at a time where China Eastern and Virgin Atlantic services linking Londonto Shanghai are part of the mutualized offer. China Eastern plans to seek to codeshare for the first time on Virgin Atlantic services between London and Shanghai. This will open up a range of customer benefits, including the opportunity for customers to earn and redeem miles across both carriers on flights between China and United Kingdom.

The announcement reaffirms China Eastern’s commitment to the European market, which will inject new vitality into her international development, network construction and service improvement and will also contribute to the  internationalization of China’s civil aviation and the Belt and Road Initiative.

China Eastern aircraft photo gallery: