Etihad Airways has signed its first codeshare agreement in China as it looks to grow its network in the country's competitive aviation market.
The deal with Hainan Airlines will come into being on January 10 subject to regulatory approvals, the Abu Dhabi airline said in a statement.
Under the deal, Hainan Airline will place its 'HU' code on Etihad Airways flights between Abu Dhabi and the airline's three gateway cities in Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.
The arrangement will extend to Etihad Airways flights beyond Abu Dhabi to Khartoum International Airport in Sudan, the carrier added.
James Hogan, CEO of Etihad, said the codeshare with Hainan Airlines would help strengthen Etihad's position in the competitive Chinese market.
"Working with a major player like Hainan Airlines will increase Chinese passenger numbers on our China-Abu Dhabi services and beyond to popular destinations in Africa, Middle East and Europe.
"We look forward to expanding the relationship to include more destinations over time."
The new codeshare services will go on sale from January 10 for travel from that date for Beijing and Chengdu flights, and from March 1 for Shanghai.
Separately, Etihad on Thursday started scheduled services between its hub in Abu Dhabi and Chengdu in southwest China.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, will be served by four non-stop, return services per week.
Hogan said the new route had special significance as the first and only direct flight link between Sichuan province and the UAE.