Fresh from being awarded its 5-star airline rating by Skytrax, Japan Airlines (JAL) is looking to strengthen its partnership with China Eastern Airlines.

According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, Tokyo-based Japan Airlines (JAL) and Shanghai-based China Eastern are looking for form a joint venture, the first among a Japanese and Chinese airline as relations improve between the two largest economies of Asia - Japan and China.

Both airlines currently have an existing partnership which includes flight code-sharing and reciprocal frequent flier award redemption. A joint venture agreement would open up more coordination among the two airlines on ticket sales and flight schedules.

For travel between China and Japan, it would allow for more connections for travellers at JAL and China Eastern hubs at Tokyo and Shanghai - two of the largest cities within the region. It would also benefit both airlines targetting the growing tourist arrivals in Japan from China, which accounts for up to a quarter of foreign visitors to Japan.

The potential JAL/China Eastern joint venture will require government approval before getting started. It would join a growing list of Asia-based airlines who are in talks or have entered agreements to strengthen their alliances. Atlanta-based Delta and Korean Air started their venture on trans-Pacific flights in May.

Earlier this year, Japan Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines filed a petition for a joint venture with the the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Japan's Ministry Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

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