Turkish Airlines, China Eastern Sign Cooperation Pact

China Eastern and Turkish Airlines have signed a cooperation MoU. Concurrently, connectivity between Istanbul and Shanghai has been enhanced with new nonstop flights.



October 2, 2023

DALLAS — China Eastern (MU) and Turkish Airlines (TK), two of the largest Asian airlines in terms of fleet size, recently signed an important memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation. This signing took place in Shanghai, which serves as MU's main hub, and was attended by the CEOs of both airlines.

The primary objective of the MoU is to expand the presence of these airlines in the air corridor between China and Turkey. To coincide with this agreement, MU has introduced a new nonstop service from Pu Dong to Istanbul, with three weekly flights. This brings the total number of weekly connections between Istanbul (IST) and Shanghai (PVG) to 10. Currently, TK operates flights from Istanbul to five major cities in Mainland China, making Istanbul a significant gateway to Europe.

Bilal Ekşi, the CEO of Turkish Airlines, expressed his commitment to further growth in the Chinese market through various collaborations with valued partners in the region. He emphasized that this MoU with China Eastern signifies Turkish Airlines' dedication to being a leading airline that constantly strives for advancement.

Turkish Airlines Airbus A350-900 (TC-LGH). Photo: Brandon Siska/Airways.

Turkish Airlines' Presence in Asia

By leveraging the strategic geographical position of Istanbul Airport, TK, officially Türk Hava Yolları Anonim Ortaklığı, has emerged as a prominent player in the transportation of passengers between Europe and Asia, fearlessly contending with renowned airlines such as Emirates (EK), Qatar Airways (QR), and Etihad (EY).

Presently, the airline operates regular flights to over 60 destinations in Asia, not including its extensive domestic network within Turkey.

To support this extensive long-haul network, TK boasts one of the largest widebody fleets in the Middle East, comprising more than 130 aircraft from the Airbus A330, A350, Boeing 777, and 787 families.

Although the Turkish flag carrier is on the verge of announcing an order for over 600 aircraft, the event has been repeatedly postponed due to unsuccessful negotiations with manufacturers and existing fleet challenges, such as the grounding of A321neo airframes due to engine design flaws.

Featured image: Turkish Airlines