QANTAS Airways (Sydney) and China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) today (November 17) announced a new joint venture, marking the start of a deeper level of commercial cooperation on flights between Australia and China.
The airlines will now submit an application for authorization to Australian and Chinese regulators. Subject to regulatory approval, it is anticipated that the joint agreement will commence in mid-2015.
The five year agreement was signed today by QANTAS Group CEO Alan Joyce and China Eastern Chairman Liu Shaoyong at Parliament House, in a ceremony attended by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.
Under the agreement, the airlines will deliver substantial benefits for customers and support the growing trade, tourism and corporate travel links between Australia and China. It is designed to complement the QANTAS-Emirates partnership for Europe, Middle East and North Africa and the QANTAS-American Airlines partnership for the US.
Through the new partnership, the airlines hope to ultimately open up new routes between Australia and mainland China, such as between Brisbane and Perth to Shanghai.
A key benefit of the agreement will be the co-location of both carriers’ operations in Terminal 1 at Shanghai International Airport, which will cut transit times by about an hour, open up a better range of onward connections and provide more choice for customers.
Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. The first Boeing 737-800 to wear the new 2014 China Eastern brand is this 737-89P registered as B-5689 (msn 41512) passing through Honolulu on delivery on November 7, 2014.
China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) has begun offering Wi-Fi service over China. The airline issued this statement:
In a first for the commercial aviation industry in China, China Eastern Airlines (CEA) has begun offering broadband connected flights over China using China Telecom Satellite aeronautical service and Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) eXConnect system.
The first of 27 CEA aircraft equipped with a system and service tailored to the unique requirements of China is an Airbus A330 aircraft. Onboard, passengers will experience true broadband Wi-Fi as they surf the web, keep in touch with friends and family through their social networks, and even check their email – all at 35,000 feet. CEA has also selected China Telecom Satellite’s service and Panasonic’s eXConnect system for an additional six Boeing 767s and 20 Boeing 777 aircraft.
The first aircraft has been dedicated to routes between Shanghai and Beijing, allowing government agencies to observe operation of the service before granting full regulatory approval for operation on additional domestic and international routes.
China Eastern Airlines said, “We are very excited to offer this extremely exciting service with China Telecom Satellite and Panasonic Avionics. This is a tremendous milestone for China and we look forward to ensuring our passengers are both entertained and productive as they fly.”
Lv Junli, President of China Telecom Satellite, added, “This is a momentous day for China’s commercial airline industry, and we are very confident of providing better broadband connectivity to China with our partners at China Eastern Airlines and Panasonic.”
According to Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, “After years of close collaboration with China Eastern Airlines and China Telecom Satellite, we are now witnessing the next step in the evolution of in-flight entertainment over China. We are very excited to bring in-flight broadband Wi-Fi to this strategic market.”
About Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading supplier of in-flight entertainment and communication systems. The company’s best-in-class solutions, supported by professional maintenance services, fully integrate with the cabin enabling airlines to deliver the ultimate travel experiences with a rich variety of entertainment choices, resulting in improved quality communication systems and solutions, reduced time-to-market and lower overall costs.
Established in 1979, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a U.S. corporation, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California with over 3,100 employees and operations in 80 locations worldwide, it serves over 200 customers worldwide and provides IFEC systems on over 3,700 aircraft. For additional information, please visit http://www.panasonic.aero
About China Telecom Satellite Communications Limited
Dedicated to satellite communications services, China Telecom Satellite Communications Limited, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Telecom, specializes in the operation of its parent corporation’s satellite communications business. It serves as the resource center, product integration center and professional support center of China Telecom’s satellite communications business, mainly engaged in Satellite mobile communications, Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) communications, International private line and Satellite broadband access, etc., providing integrated (Aviation/Land/Maritime) satellite communications and broadcasting operating service with characteristics to subscribers.
Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 737-89P WL B-1965 (msn 41473) was just delivered to China Eastern Airlines on July 19, 2014.