China Eastern Airlines and the Shenzhen Airport Group have inked a cooperation agreement that will see the carrier boost its presence from the Chinese airport.

Under the agreement, signed on 9 January, both parties will cooperate in network expansion, aviation logistics industrial development, as well as joint marketing efforts.

The push is part of efforts to capitalise on China’s Belt and Road initiative, and to build up the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

China Eastern, in a media release, states that it will expand its network out of Shenzhen. Cirium schedules data shows that it flies to 21 points from Shenzhen, most of them domestically. The carrier has only one international flight from Shenzhen, a thrice-weekly service to Bangkok.

Moving forward, the SkyTeam member says it will “add intercontinental or Asian routes” out of the city, but did not give any indication which cities it was looking at.

It also states it will “optimise” connections between domestic and international services, to build up Shenzhen’s transit capabilities.

China Eastern’s logistics arm, China Eastern Logistics, will also base operations at Shenzhen to create and develop e-commerce distribution centres.

In 2019, Shenzhen airport saw its annual passenger throughput go beyond 50 million, of which about 5 million passengers were from international arrivals.