British Airways made an announcement on Friday that it had made a code-share agreement with China Easter which is a SkyTeam alliance member.
British Airways will place its code on some China Eastern domestic flights from Chengdu and Shanghai. China Eastern will code-share BA services to London from these same two cities.
Here’s the announcement from British Airways:
British Airways is set to gain access to the domestic Chinese market as it launches a new partnership with Shanghai-based carrier, China Eastern Airlines.
With its gleaming skyscrapers and ancient temples China is more accessible than ever before as the British carrier will start selling flights to Kunming, Xi’an, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Chongqing on a BA flight code, while the Chinese carrier will sell British Airways flights to Aberdeen, Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle on their MU flight code.
For the customer it means an easy one-stop-shop booking experience and ease of connection between the two carriers.
Customers in the UK will be able to travel through China’s gateway cities to destinations that have previously been more difficult to access from the UK and China Eastern customers can connect on to British Airways in Shanghai and Chengdu.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with China Eastern Airlines and are very pleased that we can now offer our customers the opportunity to book with British Airways to fly to these great regional Chinese destinations.
“We believe the start of this code-share will help to generate more opportunities for companies based in these important cities as it will be simpler and easier to travel to do business in person. And for leisure travellers looking to explore and witness ancient culture and stunning landscapes, these flights will lead them to the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, the Purple Mountain in Nanjing and the Porcelain Village in Chongqing.”
Zeng Yongchao, China Eastern Airlines’ executive deputy managing director of marketing and sales committee, said: “British Airways is a very important partner to China Eastern. The code-share demonstrates that the partnership between us has embarked on a new phase.
“We are pleased to begin this mutually-beneficial partnership and offer our customers a more attractive route network and a comfortable and seamless travel experience. The UK is popular with Chinese travellers and we look forward to welcoming customers on-board our flights to the UK through London.”
Customers can also earn Avios loyalty points on the China Eastern sectors as well as British Airways services.
Air China is part of Star Alliance and both China Southern and China Eastern part of SkyTeam. Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific and its affiliate Dragonair (being rebranded as Cathay Dragon) are part of Oneworld. Oneworld’s access to domestic China destinations is the weakest of the three alliances.
Seems that based on the press release that one can only earn Avios and Tier Points for BA coded China Eastern flights and that this wouldn’t indicate a larger deal between the airlines.