Etihad Airways has commenced codeshare flights with Hainan Airlines of China, making the agreement its first ever codeshare with a Chinese carrier.

Hainan Airlines now places its ‘HU’ code on Etihad Airways-operated flights between Abu Dhabi and the airline’s three gateway cities in China which are Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.

The agreement also extends to Etihad Airways flights to Khartoum International Airport in Sudan, a statement from the airline said.

James Hogan, the president and CEO of Etihad Airways said the codeshare with Hainan Airlines was a key plank in the airline’s Chinese market strategy.

"The agreement with Hainan Airlines expands our network reach into China and gives us immediate access to the millions of potential Chinese travellers to the Middle East and beyond to Africa. It also provides a firm foundation for growing the Etihad Airways brand in the Chinese market,” Hogan said.

"We will continue to explore opportunities for collaboration with Hainan Airlines and in particular, to include more destinations on each other’s networks over time,” he said.

Tie Li, president of Hainan Airlines, said: “The codeshare cooperation with Etihad Airways will reinforce Hainan Airlines’ development in the Mena region. We believe that through mutual creativity, we will be able to bring synergy and hopefully value to our customers."

The reciprocal agreement integrates the Etihad Guest and Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club loyalty programs, enabling travellers to earn miles on each other’s flights.

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