China Eastern Airlines

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China Eastern Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedJune 25, 1988; 35 years ago (1988-06-25)
Secondary hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programEastern Miles
Fleet size624
Parent companyChina Eastern Air Holding Company
Traded as
HeadquartersNo. 2550 Hongqiao Road, Shanghai
Key peopleLiu Shaoyong (Chairman)
RevenueIncrease CN¥85.25 billion (2012)[3]
Operating incomeIncrease CN¥4.228 billion (2012)[3]
Net incomeDecrease CN¥2.808 billion (2012)[3]
Total assetsIncrease CN¥123.82 billion (2012)[3]
Total equityIncrease CN¥22.93 billion (2012)[3]
Employees80,000 (March 2022)
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 branch at Beijing Daxing International Airport

China Eastern Airlines (branded as China Eastern) is a major airline in China, headquartered in Changning, Shanghai. It is one of the three major airlines in the country, along with Air China and China Southern Airlines.

China Eastern's main hubs are Shanghai Pudong Airport and Hongqiao Airport. In terms of passenger traffic, it is the country's second largest airline after China Southern Airlines. In 2021, its operational revenue was 67,127 million RMB with assets totaling 286,548 million RMB.[4] China Eastern (along with its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines) became the 14th member of SkyTeam on June 21, 2011.[5]


China Eastern Airlines was established on June 25, 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.[6] 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 April 20, 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 September 2, 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 November 9, 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 September 24, 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 by Beckett Saufley.[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 June 11, 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 Air Transport Licensing Authority refused to issue an operating license to Jetstar Hong Kong. China Eastern and Qantas subsequently announced the end of the investment.[22]

In April 2013, China Eastern received 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.[23][24]

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 September 9, 2014, China Eastern introduced a new logo and new livery.[25] 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.[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 February 26, 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 agreements[edit]

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

Corporate affairs[edit]

Business trends[edit]

The key trends for the China Eastern Airlines Group are (as of the financial year ending 31 December):

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Net profit (RMB b) 2.0 3.5 5.0 4.9 6.8 2.6 3.1 −11.8 −12.2 −37.3
Number of employees 68,874 69,849 71,033 75,333 75,277 77,005 81,136 81,157 80,321 80,193
Number of passengers (m) 79.0 83.8 93.7 101 110 121 130 74.6 79.0 74.6
Passenger load factor (%) 79.2 79.5 80.5 81.2 81.0 82.2 82.0 70.5 67.7 63.7
Fleet size 478 515 551 596 637 692 734 734 758 778
References [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]

Organizational structure[edit]

Organizational Structure


Ownership structure[edit]

[43] Owner Number of shares held Percentage of shares held
1 China Eastern Airlines Group Co. LTD 7567853802 40.1
2 HKSCC NOMINEES LIMITED 4701157885↓ 24.91
3 Shanghai Jidao Hang Enterprise Management Co., LTD 589041096 3.12
4 China Aviation Oil Group Co. LTD 502767895 2.66
5 DELTA AIRLINES INC 465910000 2.47
6 Shanghai Reed Information Technology Consulting Co. LTD 465838509 2.47
7 China Eastern Financial Holding Co. LTD 457317073 2.42
8 China Securities Finance Co. LTD 429673382 2.28
9 Shanghai Junyao (Group) Co. LTD 311831909 1.65
10 China State-owned Enterprise Restructuring Fund Co., LTD 273972602 1.45

Cooperation with Delta[edit]

Delta Air Lines and China Eastern Airlines formed a partnership in 2010 with a codeshare agreement, expanding in 2011 when China Eastern joined SkyTeam Alliances. They connected 42 city pairs between the U.S. and China and fostered a strong friendship. In 2015, they entered into an equity partnership, with Delta investing $450 million for a 3.55% stake in China Eastern. This led to significant achievements, including an expanded network with over 170 city pairs and the launch of Trans-China baggage check-through service. The partnership has brought numerous benefits to both airlines and their customers.[44]


Current fleet[edit]

China Eastern Airlines Airbus A320-200 taxiing at Kansai International Airport
China Eastern Airlines Airbus A320neo
China Eastern Airlines Comac C919
A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 777-300ER at Los Angeles International Airport
China Eastern Yunnan Airlines Boeing 787-9 at Beijing Capital International Airport
China Eastern Airlines Airbus A350-900 at Beijing Capital International Airport

As of March 2024, China Eastern Airlines operates the following aircraft:[45]

China Eastern Airlines Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers[46][47][48] Notes
F J W Y Total
Airbus A319-100 35 8 114 122
Airbus A320-200 166 8 150 158
Airbus A320neo 105 32[49] 8 18 132 158 Second largest operator.[49]
Airbus A321-200 77 20 155 175
12 166 178
12 170 182
Airbus A321neo 68[49] TBA
Airbus A330-200 30 30 202 232
30 204 234
24 240 264
18 246 264
Airbus A330-300 26 38 262 300
32 32 230 294
Airbus A350-900 20 4[50] 36 32 216 288
Boeing 737-700 36 8 126 134
140 140
Boeing 737-800 102 20 138 158
12 150 162
8 162 170
8 18 150 176
Boeing 737 MAX 8 3 8[51][52] 8 18 150 176 Deliveries through 2024.[51]
Boeing 777-300ER 20 6 52 258 316
Boeing 787-9 3 2[53][a] 4[56] 26 28 227 285 Deliveries through 2024.[53]
Comac C919 5[57] 100[58] 8 156 164 Launch customer
Order with 15 options.[59]
Deliveries through 2031.[58]
Total 627 245

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,[60]

On October 18, 2011, China Eastern Airlines placed an order for 15 Airbus A330s.[61][62]

China Eastern Airlines ordered 20 Boeing 777-300ERs and received its first 777-300ER aircraft on September 26, 2014.[63]

In 2015, the airline acquired a further batch of 15 Airbus A330 aircraft for delivery in 2017 and 2018.[64]

In April 2016, China Eastern Airlines ordered 20 Airbus A350-900 and 15 Boeing 787-9 aircraft, with deliveries commencing in 2018.[53]

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.[65]

Former fleet[edit]

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:[45]

China Eastern Airlines Retired Fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300-600R 10 1989 2015
Airbus A300-600RF 3 1993 2015
Airbus A310-200 3 1988 2006
Airbus A310-300 2 1988 1994
Airbus A318-100 1 2012 2020 Operated for China Eastern Airlines Executive Air.[66]
Airbus A340-300 5 1996 2012
Airbus A340-600 5 2003 2015
Boeing 737-200 3 2001 2005
Boeing 737-300 26 1998 2014
Boeing 767-300ER 3 2003 2011 Acquired from China Yunnan Airlines.
Bombardier CRJ-200ER 5 2004 2016 Acquired from China Yunnan Airlines.
All aircraft remained in the Yunnan landscape special livery previously painted by China Yunnan Airlines.
BAe 146-100 6 1986 2009
BAe 146-300 7 2003 2009
Embraer ERJ-135 5 2012 2021 Operated for China Eastern Airlines Executive Air.[66]
Embraer ERJ-145 10 2005 2016
Fokker 100 10 1992 1999
McDonnell Douglas MD-11 4 1991 2003
McDonnell Douglas MD-11F 2 1991 2003 Transferred to China Cargo Airlines.
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 16 1988 2007
McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 9 1997 2010
Xian MA-60 Un­known Un­known Un­known Acquired from Wuhan Airlines.
Yakovlev Yak-42 Un­known Un­known Un­known Acquired from China General Aviation Corporation.

Special liveries gallery[edit]

In flight from Kunming to Chongqing


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

First class

China Eastern offers first class on Boeing 777-300ERs. 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

The business plus product can be found on all Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s. 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.[50][56]

Business class
Business class on a Boeing 777-300ER.

Business class comes in many different versions. On narrowbody aircraft, business class seats are recliners arranged in an 2-2 configuration. On select Airbus A330s, business class seats are either Zodiac Cirrus or Thompson Vantage XL which is in a 1-2-1 configuration, or angled flat beds or fully flat beds arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. On Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-9s, business class seats are modified Thompson Vantage XL with doors similar to Delta One suites.[67] On Boeing 777-300ERs, business class seats are Zodiac Cirrus.

Premium eco

Premium economy is found on all Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-9s.[68]

Economy class on a Boeing 777-300ER
Economy class on an Airbus A330-200

China Eastern offers complimentary meal service and select A330s, all A350s, 777s, and 787s have seatback entertainment.[69]

Eastern Miles[edit]

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. Members can be upgraded to Elite membership in three tiers: Platinum, Gold and Silver, when meet minimum spending requirement(essential), enough miles or flying sectors.[70]


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.[71] 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 Airlines[edit]

China Eastern Airlines' 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 Airlines[edit]

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 Airlines[edit]

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]

China Eastern Yunnan Airlines[edit]

China Eastern Yunnan Airlines, formerly known as China Yunnan Airlines, is China Eastern Airlines' local subsidiary in Yunnan province.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On April 24, 1989, a passenger hijacked a China Eastern Xian Y-7 en route from Ningbo to Xiamen. The hijacker, armed with a dagger and carrying dynamite, stabbed a flight attendant and demanded to be flown to Taiwan. The pilot diverted to Fuzhou instead and when the hijacker realized that he had been tricked, he blew himself up, injuring two people in the process.[72]
  • On August 15, 1989, Flight 5510 (B-3437) operating a domestic flight from Shanghai to Nanchang, crashed on takeoff following an unexplained failure of the right engine, killing 34 of 40 people on board.[73]
  • On April 6, 1993, Flight 583, a McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 flying from Beijing to Los Angeles via Shanghai, had an inadvertent deployment of the leading edge wing slats while cruising. The aircraft progressed through several violent pitch oscillations and lost 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of altitude. Two passengers were killed, and 149 passengers and seven crew members were injured. The aircraft landed safely in Shemya, Alaska, United States.
  • On 26 October 1993, Flight 5398 from Shenzhen to Fuzhou, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 overshot the runway and crashed at Fuzhou Yixu Airport after a failed attempt to go around on approach, killing two of 80 on board.
  • On September 10, 1998, Flight 586, a McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 flying from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport, suffered a nose gear failure after take-off. The aircraft landed back in Shanghai with the nose gear up on a foamed runway. There were only nine reported injuries. The incident became the inspiration for the 1999 movie Crash Landing, directed by Zhang Jianya, which premiered on the 50th anniversary of the National Day of the People's Republic of China.[74]
  • On November 21, 2004, Flight 5210, a Bombardier CRJ-200LR, crashed shortly after takeoff from Baotou Airport due to wing icing, killing all 53 on board and two people on the ground.
  • On June 7, 2013, Flight 2947, an Embraer ERJ-145LI (B-3052), ran off the runway on landing at Hongqiao Airport; all 49 on board survived. Investigation revealed that a servo valve in the nosewheel steering assembly was clogged.[75]
  • On March 21, 2022, Flight 5735 (operated by China Eastern Yunnan Airlines), a Boeing 737-89P flying from Kunming Changshui International Airport to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, crashed in a mountainous region in Molang Village, Teng County, Guangxi, killing all 123 passengers and 9 crew.[76][77] On March 20, 2023, Civil Aviation Administration of China released a three paragraph statement with no further information on the crash.[78] On 17 May, The Wall Street Journal reported a source from the US government, from officials involved in the investigation, as saying that the plane had been intentionally crashed, based on an analysis of data from the aircraft recorders.[79][80] News reports published by ABC News on the same day concurred with the Wall Street Journal's report of the investigating officials in the US government declaring that the aircraft had been deliberately put into a vertical dive by a person on the flight deck, also citing flight recorder data showing that the landing gear and flaps had evidently not been engaged or deployed during the aircraft's descent which would indicate the pilots attempting an emergency descent or landing.[81]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ China Eastern placed an order of 15 Boeing 787-9 of which 10 aircraft will be operated by its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines.[54][55]


  1. ^ 东航“四梁八柱”航线战略:“四梁”为上海、北京、昆明、西安四大枢纽市场,“八柱”则为广州、深圳、成都、厦门、南京、杭州、青岛、武汉八个重要市场。
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