Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and SkyTeam member China Southern Airlines, Asia’s largest airline, are set to explore deeper and broader cooperation opportunities following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide passengers with an enhanced travel experience.

This follows Etihad’s move to Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX), which is also China Southern Airlines’ hub, earlier this week.

The daily service will be operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Etihad Guest members currently do not earn frequent flyer points on China Southern flights. They do, however, earn miles on Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines.

Etihad and China Southern say their new MOU provides scope for expansion of the current codeshare cooperation and allows the partners to explore extending global flight networks beyond the two carriers’ hubs.

This is further enhanced by Etihad services to China Southern’s home hub at Guangzhou Baiyun, resumed in October 2022. Etihad currently also flies to Shanghai, but its flights to Chengdu and Hong Kong remain suspended.

The MOU also contains plans for mutual procurement opportunities across ground handling, cargo handling, bonded warehousing, catering, and maintenance, repair and overhaul in either Guangzhou, Beijing or Abu Dhabi, broadening cooperation opportunities in the airline supply chain.

“This MOU will serve as a platform for a stronger ongoing relationship between the two airlines. Etihad looks forward to working with China Southern Airlines to explore comprehensive and pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can work more closely together, to drive greater value through our unique strengths at Beijing Daxing International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and further extend the reach of our joint network . Advanced cooperation between the two airlines sends a very strong signal to the industry and brings further hope of recovery for the global aviation and travel markets,” comments Arik De, chief revenue officer of Etihad.