An operational summary of China Eastern Airlines

Established on April 14, 1995, based in Shanghai, China Eastern Corporation Limited is one of the three largest air carriers in China.

Teresa Cederholm - Author

Nov. 20 2020, Updated 11:37 a.m. ET

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Company overview

Established on April 14, 1995, based in Shanghai, China Eastern Corporation Limited is one of the three largest air carriers in China. The company, along with its subsidiaries and affiliates, operates a comprehensive network of domestic and international flight services. It provides passenger as well as cargo services across 1,024 destinations in 178 countries in association with the SkyTeam alliance.

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The parent company, China Eastern Air Holding Company (or CEA Holdings), was established in 2002 after the merger of Eastern Air Group Company (or EA Group) with China Northwest Airlines Company and Yunnan Airlines Company. It operates 21 subsidiaries and holds 64% of the equity interest on behalf of the government in China Eastern Corporation.

Top airlines

Among the top ten airlines ranked by IATA (or International Air Transport Association), five were US airlines and two were Chinese airlines. In 2013, China Southern Airlines (ZNH) carried 92 million passengers and ranked third. In the same year, China Eastern Airlines (CEA) carried 62 million passengers and was ranked the eighth largest passenger airline by scheduled passengers carried. Delta Air Lines (DAL) carried the highest number of passengers (120 million) and ranked first, followed by Southwest Airlines (LUV) in the second position.

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China Eastern Corporation Ltd. was the first listed company in the Chinese aviation industry. It completed the initial public offering of its H shares in 1997 when it was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The American Depository Receipts (or ADRs) representing the company’s H shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Public offering

During the same year, the company also completed the public offering of its A shares, which are listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The only difference between H shares and A shares is that only Chinese domestic investors and certain qualified foreign investors are eligible to hold China Eastern’s A shares.

ETFs holding China Eastern Airlines’s shares include the Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF (HAO), the KraneShares CSI China Five-Year Plan ETF (KFYP), and the Guggenheim China All Cap ETF (YAO).


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