Chinese carrier China Eastern Airlines has secured an investment of CNY31bn ($4.60bn) from four new state-owned investors.

The capital increase is part of an equity diversification plan.

China Eastern Airlines plans to use the investment to expand and strengthen its aviation and business operations.

The four investors include China Life Investment Holding, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Life Insurance. It is paying CNY11bn ($1.6bn) for 11.3% stake in China Eastern.

Shanghai Jiushi Group is paying CNY10bn ($1.4bn) for a 10.3% stake in the airline.

Additionally, state-owned entities China Reform Holdings and China Tourism Group will inject CNY5bn ($742m) each.

The investment comes as the carrier reported a net loss of CNY8.5bn ($1.2bn) during the first half of this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company said in a statement: “The new crown epidemic has had an unprecedented major impact on the aviation industry, and the civil aviation industry has played an important role in the process of epidemic prevention and fighting.

“The capital increase fully reflects investors’ confidence in the development of China’s civil aviation and recognition of China Eastern Airlines’ good development momentum in recent years.

“After the completion of relevant reforms, China Eastern Airlines group’s asset-liability ratio will be greatly reduced, providing a strong strategic impetus and financial guarantee for the development of the post-epidemic period.”

China Eastern Airlines secures CNY31bn ($4.60bn) capital increase from four investors. Credit: Colin Brown Photography.