Hangzhou, China – Etihad Aviation Group (EAG), Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) and Ant Financial Services Group (ANT Group) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand their partnership and deliver superior products and services to Chinese customers.
The groups plan to expand cooperation through greater
collaboration on respective loyalty programmes. In addition, new
products and services will be introduced to deliver an improved guest
experience and improved logistics.
Under the agreement, Alibaba and Etihad Guest, the
award-winning loyalty programme of Etihad Airways, will explore enhanced
programme benefits and opportunities for cross-acquisition of loyalty points.
This will include points conversion to Etihad Guest Miles, reciprocal benefits
across premium tiers, and the ability to redeem Etihad Guest Miles for Alibaba
In addition, Alibaba Group and Etihad Airways
will enter into a brand partnership agreement that will integrate the
Alibaba Group of Brands with Etihad Airways’ premium leisure travel experience
across its global route network.
Alibaba and Etihad Cargo will also cooperate to
enhance cross-border air cargo delivery solutions to improve delivery
efficiency and performance.
Alipay, an online and mobile payment platform operated by
Ant Financial with 520 million monthly active mobile users, will work with
Etihad Airways to explore payment service options inflight and on the ground to
create a more convenient travel experience for Chinese guests.
The addition of Alibaba and Alibaba’s related companies’
products and services is part of Etihad’s commitment to expanding the range of
options available to Chinese customers.
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Executive Vice
President – Commercial, said: “Alibaba's renowned digitalisation and product
innovations, designed around Chinese consumer behaviour, have ensured Alibaba's
leading position in the industry.
“There is an impressive and growing number of Chinese
outbound travellers exploring new destinations and unique experiences. The
volume of goods transportation generated on ecommerce platforms has been
“We believe cooperation with Alibaba Group will better
consolidate our product and service advantages for a convenient and refined
travel experience, as well as enhance our brand awareness and jointly optimise
our products and services.”
Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer of Alibaba
Group, said: “We are delighted to see the partnership between Alibaba and
Etihad rapidly taking shape with close cooperation on formulating innovative
methods that will further enhance our awareness and influence in the global
“Alibaba’s complete commercial ecosystem, significant big
data resources and cutting-edge technology combined with Etihad Airways’
remarkable services and products and extensive global network will markedly
improve Chinese passengers’ comprehensive travel experience.”
As the prelude to an enhanced partnership, Etihad Airways
and Alibaba’s Tmall and Alitrip are promoting this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping
Festival through a special aircraft livery design.
Five Etihad Airways aircraft with special 11.11 livery
began flying from Abu Dhabi to more than 40 cities worldwide - including the
airline’s four Chinese destinations of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong
- on October 20, showcasing China’s annual shopping festival to a global
audience of millions.