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Saudi Arabia and China strengthen ties with extra flights

Travelers at Beijing Daxing International Airport. China Southern Airlines (CZ) is making its debut in Saudi Arabia VCG via Reuters Connect
Travelers at Beijing Daxing International Airport. China Southern Airlines (CZ) is making its debut in Saudi Arabia
  • CZ airline launches Riyadh flights
  • Both passenger and cargo
  • Chinese tourists vital to Vision 2030

Saudi Arabia is strengthening its ties with China with the launch of new passenger and cargo flights between the two countries.

Beginning on April 16, China Southern Airlines (CZ) will operate four commercial passenger flights and three cargo flights connecting Beijing Daxing and Riyadh, according to a report on the Saudi Press Agency website.

This will mark CZ’s first foray into the kingdom. A second route to Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport from Shenzhen will start in June.

In March General Authority of Civil Aviation president Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Dauilej signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of air transportation with the Civil Aviation Administration of China administrator Song Zhiyong.

The deal includes expanding the number of air transportation stops, promoting air traffic and developing and regulating frameworks for cooperation in transportation and air freight between the two nations.

In August last year the Saudi Air Connectivity Program signed an agreement with Hainan Airlines to launch two new air routes serving the country and China.

Flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Beijing were opened by Saudia, providing 165 million people in northern China with direct access to the kingdom.

The country’s national carrier already operated a route connecting Jeddah and Guangzhou.

Saudi Arabia is aiming to attract 150 million visitors annually by the end of this decade as part of its Vision 2030 economic diversification programme.

The plans also include boosting the number of passengers through its 29 airports from 100 million to 330 million by 2030.

China represents immense potential to help it achieve this goal as it is expected to be Saudi Arabia’s third-largest source market by the end of the decade.

During a meeting in March last year between Chinese deputy minister of culture and tourism Rao Quan and Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and member of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority, it was stated that Saudi Arabia is aiming to attract more than four million visitors from China by 2030.

Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s biggest economy, attracted $16.8 billion in foreign direct investment from China last year.

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