Qantas has Shanghai in its sights as the airline makes a renewed push into the Chinese market with the help of China Eastern.
First fruits of the new partnership include codesharing on China Eastern's double-daily Sydney–Shanghai and Melbourne–Shanghai flights from November 1st, 2015, with a raft on onwards connections to new destinations including Changchun, Jinan and Wuhan.
Qantas' own Sydney-Shanghai flights will shift to Terminal 1 at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which serves as home turf for China Eastern, to make those connections faster and easier.
China Eastern is also building an all-new lounge at Terminal 1, which will open in late 2016, with the airline's current 'China Eastern Lounge 19B' – located on the lower level underneath boarding gate 19 – now available to eligible Qantas travellers.
"Our goal is to be the first choice for travel between Australia and China and customers will enjoy significant customer benefits as a result of the expanded partnership,"said Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans.
“Aviation is opening up new travel and business opportunities at a time when the Australia-China relationship is more important than ever to both countries."
The five-year alliance between Qantas and China Eastern can be considered as a Chinese equivalent of the Flying Kangaroo's partnerships with Emirates and American Airlines, helping the Aussie airline tap into the booming Chinese market including business travel to many 'second tier' cities which are hubs for manufacturing.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously highlighted the importance of such alliances, saying "We cannot fly to every destination in China."
"However our deepened relationship with China Eastern supports our successful strategy to work with key partners around the world to offer the most comprehensive network and world class travel experiences for our customers."
China Eastern is a Qantas Frequent Flyer airline partner, offering members frequent flyer points – although not status credits – when travelling on an MU flight number.
Qantas says that its frequent flyers "will also have greater capacity to earn and redeem points as the partnership develops."
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT