China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited (simplified Chinese: 中国东方航空公司; traditional Chinese: 中國東方航空公司), also known as China Eastern, is an airline headquartered in the China Eastern Airlines Building,[3] on the grounds of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport in Changning District, Shanghai.[4] It is one of the "Big Three" airlines (alongside Air China and China Southern Airlines) of the People's Republic of China, operating international, domestic and regional routes. Hongqiao airport, along with the larger Shanghai Pudong International Airport, are China Eastern's main hubs, with secondary hubs in Beijing Daxing, Kuming, and Xi'an.[5]

China Eastern Airlines
Zhōngguó Dōngfāng Hángkōng Gōngsī
China Eastern Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded25 June 1988; 33 years ago (1988-06-25)
Secondary hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programEastern Miles
Fleet size595
Parent company
  • China Eastern Air Holding Company
HeadquartersNo. 2550 Hongqiao Rd, Shanghai
Key people
RevenueIncrease CN¥85.25 billion (2012)[2]
Operating incomeIncrease CN¥4.228 billion (2012)[2]
Net incomeDecrease CN¥2.808 billion (2012)[2]
Total assetsIncrease CN¥123.82 billion (2012)[2]
Total equityIncrease CN¥22.93 billion (2012)[2]
Employees80,000 (March, 2016)
China Eastern Airlines
Simplified Chinese中国东方航空公司
Traditional Chinese中國東方航空公司
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese東航
Current headquarters at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, shared with Shanghai Airlines

China Eastern Airlines is China's second-largest carrier by passenger numbers after China Southern Airlines. China Eastern and its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines became the 14th member of SkyTeam on 21 June 2011.[6] The parent company of China Eastern Airlines Corporation Limited is China Eastern Air Holding Company.


China Eastern Airlines was established on 25 June 1988 under the Civil Aviation Administration of China Huadong Administration. In 1997, China Eastern took over the unprofitable China General Aviation and also became the country's first airline to offer shares on the international market. In 1998 it founded China Cargo Airlines in a joint venture with COSCO. In March 2001, it completed the takeover of Great Wall Airlines.[5] China Yunnan Airlines and China Northwest Airlines merged into China Eastern Airlines in 2003.[citation needed] The company slogan is World-Class Hospitality with Eastern Charm (世界品位,东方魅力).[citation needed]

Liu Shaoyong in 2014

The Chinese government has a majority ownership stake in China Eastern Airlines (61.64%), while some shares are publicly held (H shares, 32.19%); A shares, 6.17%. On 20 April 2006 the media broke the news of a possible sale of up to 20% of its stake to foreign investors, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Japan Airlines, with Singapore Airlines confirming that negotiations were underway.[7][8]

After receiving approval from the State Council of China, it was announced that on 2 September 2007 Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings (holding company which owns 55% of Singapore Airlines) would jointly acquire shares of China Eastern Airlines.[9][10] On 9 November 2007 investors signed a final agreement to buy a combined 24% stake in China Eastern Airlines: Singapore Airlines would own 15.73% and Temasek Holdings an 8.27% stake in the airline.[11] Singapore Airlines' pending entry into the Chinese market prompted the Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific to attempt to block the deal by buying a significant stake in China Eastern and voting down the deal together with Air China (which already held an 11% stake in China Eastern) at the shareholders' meeting in December 2007.[12][13] However, on 24 September Cathay Pacific announced that it had abandoned these plans.[14]

Air China's parent company, state-owned China National Aviation Corporation, announced in January 2008 that it would offer 32% more than Singapore Airlines for the 24% stake in China Eastern, potentially complicating the deal that Singapore Airlines and Temasek had proposed.[15] However, minority shareholders declined the offer made by Singapore Airlines. It is thought that this was due to the massive effort made by Air China to buy the 24% stake.[16]

On 11 June 2009, it was announced that China Eastern Airlines would merge with Shanghai Airlines.[17] The merger of China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines was expected to reduce excess competition between the two Shanghai-based carriers while consolidating Shanghai's status as an international aviation hub. In February 2010 the merger was completed.[18] Shanghai Airlines became a wholly owned subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines. However, Shanghai Airlines retained its brand and livery. The new combined airline was expected to have over half of the market share in Shanghai, the financial hub of China.[citation needed] China Eastern Airlines also acquired China United Airlines in October 2010.[19]

In March 2012, it was announced that China Eastern was forging a strategic alliance with the Qantas Group to set up Jetstar Hong Kong, a new low cost airline to be based at Hong Kong International Airport, which would commence operations in 2013.[20] China Eastern would hold a 50% stake in the new airline, with the Qantas Group holding the other 50%, representing a total investment of US$198 million.[21] However, in June 2015, the Hong Kong authority refused to issue operating license to Jetstar Hong Kong. China Eastern and Qantas subsequently announced the end of the investment.[citation needed]

In April 2013, China Eastern got a temporary permit to operate in the Philippines, but the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines required them to obtain a technical permit and an airport slot.[22][23]

In 2012, China Eastern was awarded the “Golden Ting Award” at the China Capital Market Annual Conference 2012, recognizing it as one of the 50 most valuable Chinese brands by WPP and ranking in the top ten of FORTUNE China's CSR ranking 2013.[citation needed]

On 9 September 2014, China Eastern introduced a new logo and new livery.[24] In 2015, the airline entered a partnership with Delta Air Lines in which Delta will buy a 3.55% share in China Eastern for $450 million.[25]

China Eastern from 30 June 2015, launched new service to the US, as the Skyteam member plans three weekly Chengdu – Nanjing – Los Angeles operation with Airbus A330-200 (twin-jet) (A332) aircraft.[26]

In 2017, China Eastern Airlines reported a net profit of CNY6.4 billion ($983 million), up 41% over net income of CNY4.5 billion in 2016.[27]

On 26 February 2020, China Eastern Airlines launched OTT Airlines as a subsidiary to operate domestically produced aircraft, such as the Comac C919 and Comac ARJ21, in the Yangtze Delta region in addition to business jet operations.[28][29]


China Eastern Airlines has a strong presence on routes in Asia, North America and Australia. The airline looks to exploit the domestic market potential as it boosts flight frequencies from Shanghai to other Chinese cities. The airline is also accelerating the pace of international expansion by increasing flight frequencies to international destinations. In 2007 it began operations to New York City from Shanghai, making it the longest non-stop route for the airline. In 2016, China Eastern Airlines also launched direct flights from Shanghai to Prague, Amsterdam, Madrid and St. Petersburg.[citation needed]

Codeshare agreementsEdit

China Eastern Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[30]


China Eastern Airlines A320-200 taxiing at Kansai International Airport
China Eastern Airlines Airbus A330-200
China Eastern Yunnan Airlines Boeing 787-9 at Beijing Capital International Airport

As of February 2021, the China Eastern Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[31][32][33]

China Eastern Airlines Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
F J W Y Total
Airbus A319-100 35 8 114 122
Airbus A320-200 178 8 150 158
Airbus A320neo 65 5 8 18 132 158 Deliveries through 2020[34]
Airbus A321-200 77 20 155 175
12 166 178
12 170 182
Airbus A330-200 30 30 202 232
30 204 234
24 240 264
Airbus A330-300 25 32 32 230 294
38 262 300
Airbus A350-900 10 10 4[35] 36 32 216 288 Deliveries through 2022[36][37]
Boeing 737-700 40 8 126 134
140 140
Boeing 737-800 109 20 138 158
12 150 162
8 162 170
8 18 150 176
18 168 186
Boeing 737 MAX 8 3 47 8 18 150 176 Currently grounded[38]
Deliveries through 2020[39]
Boeing 777-300ER 20 6 52 258 316
Boeing 787-9 3 20 4[40] 26 28 227 285 Deliveries through 2022[41]
Comac ARJ21-700 35[42] TBA Deliveries from 2025
Comac C919 20 TBA Launch customer[43]
Total 595 129

China Eastern Airlines was the first Chinese airline to place an order with Airbus. The backbone of the fleet is the A320 series, which are used primarily on domestic flights.[citation needed]

In 2005, China Eastern Airlines placed an order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The airline subsequently cancelled its order owing to continuous delays, instead swapped the 787 order for Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft,[44]

On 18 October 2011, China Eastern Airlines placed an order for 15 Airbus A330s.[45][46]

On 27 April 2012, China Eastern Airlines ordered 20 Boeing 777-300ERs. The airline received its first 777-300ER aircraft on 26 September 2014.[citation needed]

In 2015 the airline acquired a further batch of 15 Airbus A330 aircraft for delivery in 2017 and 2018.[47]

In April 2016, China Eastern Airlines ordered 20 Airbus A350-900 and 15 Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with deliveries commencing in 2018.[41]

In May 2021, China Eastern Airlines introduced five A320neos and one ARJ21. At of the end of the month, the company operated a total of 738 aircraft.[48]

Fleet historyEdit

An Airbus A310-222 of China Eastern Airlines at the Beijing Civil Aviation Museum
A China Eastern Airlines Xian Y-7-100C at At Tianjin Binhai International
A McDonnell Douglas MD-11 of China Eastern Airlines

China Eastern Airlines has previously operated the following aircraft:[citation needed]

China Eastern Airlines Retired Fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300-600R 1993 2015
Airbus A300-600RF 1993 2015
Airbus A310-200 1988 2006
Airbus A310-300 1988 1994
Airbus A340-300 1996 2012
Airbus A340-600 2003 2015
Boeing 737-200 2001 2005
Boeing 737-300 1998 2014
Boeing 767-300ER 2003 2011 Acquired from China Yunnan Airlines.
Bombardier CRJ-200ER 2004 2016
BAe 146-100 1986 2009
BAe 146-300 2003 2009
Embraer ERJ-145 2005 2016
Fokker 100 1992 1999
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 1991 2003
McDonnell Douglas MD-11F 1991 2003 Transferred to China Cargo Airlines
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 1988 2007
McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 1997 2010
Xian MA-60 Un­known Un­known Acquired from Wuhan Airlines
Yakovlev Yak-42 Un­known Un­known Acquired from China General Aviation Corporation

Special liveries galleryEdit


China Eastern offers first class, business class, premium economy, and economy.

First class

China Eastern offers first class on all Boeing 777s. A first-class seat comes with a flat bed seat, direct aisle access and a sliding door. The plane also comes with a bar for passengers to serve themselves snacks and socialize with others. Middle seats on the Boeing 777 can be turned into a double bed.

Business plus/ Super premium suites[35]

The business plus product are found on all A350-900 and B787-9[40] aircraft. The suites come with bigger space along with larger suite length compared to the business class seats. The business plus suites also feature sliding door and a minibar. The middle seats can be turned into a living room with seating for four. [35]

Business class

Business class comes in many different versions. On China Eastern's narrow-body fleet, business class seats are recliners arranged in an 2-2 configuration. On select A330, business class seats are either Zodiac Cirrus or Thompson Vantage XL which is in a 1-2-1 configuration, or it could be angled flat beds arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. On its A350 and B787, business class seats are modified Thompson Vantage XL with doors similar to Delta one suites.[49] On its B777, business class seats are Zodiac Cirrus.

Premium economy

Premium economy is found on all Boeing B787 and Airbus A350 airplanes.[50]


China Eastern offers complimentary meal service and select A330s, all A350s, B777s, and B787s have seatback entertainment.[51]

Eastern MilesEdit

China Eastern Airlines's frequent-flyer program is called Eastern Miles (simplified Chinese: 东方万里行; traditional Chinese: 東方萬里行). Shanghai Airlines and China United Airlines, China Eastern subsidiaries, are also parts of the program. Eastern Miles members can earn miles on flights as well as through consumption with China Eastern's credit card. When enough miles are collected, members can be upgraded to Elite membership in three tiers: Platinum, Gold and Silver.[52]


China Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-400ERF

After the merger with Shanghai Airlines, China Eastern Airlines signaled that it would combine the two carriers' cargo subsidiaries as well. The airline's new subsidiary cargo carrier, consisting of the assets of China Cargo Airlines, Great Wall Airlines and Shanghai Airlines Cargo, commenced operations in 2011 from its base in Shanghai, China's largest air cargo market.[53] China Eastern Airlines signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with Shanghai Airport Group, which controls both Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The airline will allocate more capacity to Pudong Airport to open more international routes and boost flight frequencies on existing international and domestic trunk routes.[citation needed]


China Cargo AirlinesEdit

China Eastern Airlines's cargo subsidiary, China Cargo Airlines, is China's first all-cargo airline operating dedicated freight services using China Eastern Airlines' route structure. The cargo airline carries the same logo of China Eastern Airlines.

China United AirlinesEdit

China United Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Beijing Daxing International Airport. It became a subsidiary of China Eastern in 2010 as a result of acquisitions.[19]

OTT AirlinesEdit

OTT Airlines is an airline subsidiary that was launched in February 2020 to operate domestically produced aircraft like the Comac C919 and Comac ARJ21 in the Yangtze Delta region.[28][29]

Incidents and accidentsEdit

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit