Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines broaden their cooperation and intensify their joint venture

  • Cooperation on MRO level: China Eastern Airlines selects AFI KLM E&M, Air France-KLM’s MRO arm, for the component support of its Boeing 787 fleet
  • Extension of the passenger joint-venture’s scope expected from 2019 with a wider choice of destinations:  two additional routes operated on a reciprocal code-share basis, Paris-Wuhan and Paris-Kunming

Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines have today announced a new step in broadening their cooperation and extending their joint venture.

Cooperation at MRO level

AFI KLM E&M – Air France-KLM’s MRO arm – and China Eastern Airlines have signed a new component support contract for the Chinese company’s Boeing 787-9 fleet, which will eventually include 15 aircraft. The agreement covers repair services, access to a regional spare parts pool as well as the provision of a local parts stock, and additional services in the field of training and industrial development support.

For this purpose, AFI KLM E&M plans to develop a regional Boeing 787 spare parts pool in Shanghai, in order to meet the needs of China Eastern Airlines and other future customers.

Pieter Elbers, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Air France-KLM and President and CEO of KLM commented: “With the signing of this maintenance agreement we are broadening our partnership with China Eastern to a more global partnership. This MRO underlines the confidence of China Eastern in our industrial capabilities and mutual benefits.”

Feng Liang, Executive Vice-President of China Eastern Airlines in charge of Engineering & Maintenance, said: “AFI KLM E&M is a renowned leader in Boeing 787 component support worldwide. We are sure to find in them a reliable partner, able to adapt to our needs, notably by setting up a spare pool in China to offer us reactive support. We are pleased to be able to draw on their expertise over the long term, including during the crucial first operations of our Boeing 787-9 aircraft.”

Extension of the joint venture’s scope

Air France-KLM and China Eastern Airlines have also announced their intention to extend their joint venture partnership as from 2019.

With this new agreement, the three SkyTeam alliance member airlines (Air France, KLM and China Eastern Airlines) will cooperate on two additional routes operated on a code-share basis – Paris-Wuhan and Paris-Kunming. By extending the scope of the joint venture, Air France-KLM and China Eastern will also offer a wider choice of destinations, beyond the partners’ bases, and will enable customers travelling between Europe and China to take advantage of even more travel options.

We are very proud to affirm our joint ambition to further strengthen our ties in 2019 through a partnership encompassing an even wider scope. We are building a strong, long-term relationship between our two groups to offer an ever greater choice to our customers travelling between Europe and China. By strengthening the joint venture, our Group pursues its partnership-driven Asia strategy,” stated Patrick Alexandre, Executive Vice President Commercial, Sales and Alliances, Air France-KLM.

The cooperation between the two parties has been continuously deepened and the significant progress has been made since the joint venture between China Eastern Airlines and Air France-KLM came into being.  The signing of this agreement is the beginning of the cooperation for the next five years and should be memorized as a historic moment. I firmly believe that the partnership between our two major carriers in the industry will provide our customers with a wider variety of means of travel and bring about even better customer experiences.  Meanwhile, the partnership between China Eastern Airlines and Air France-KLM can definitely develop into the model of cooperation in air transport industry,” Liu Shaoyong, Chairman of China Eastern Airlines Co., Ltd. commented.

Air France-KLM and China Eastern, a solid and long-lasting relationship

Air France and China Eastern started their cooperation in 2000 in the form of a code-share agreement on the Paris-Shanghai route. The partnership was consolidated in 2012 thanks to a joint venture agreement. KLM joined this joint venture in 2016, thus extending the agreement to the Amsterdam-Shanghai route.

Since October 2017, China Eastern Airlines has held 8,8% of Air France-KLM’s share capital and has one director representing it on Air France-KLM’s board of directors.


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