Saudi Arabia and China introduce new air routes to boost connectivity

Saudi Arabia and China are bolstering air connectivity with the introduction of a new air route between the two nations.

As part of the Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP), China Eastern Airlines has forged a strategic partnership to inaugurate this route, directly linking Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) and Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH). Starting on April 8, 2024, the service will offer three weekly flights, operated by an A330-200 aircraft, with an annual capacity of 35,880 inbound seats.

This collaboration reflects the increasing interest in and demand for travel between Saudi Arabia and China. It serves as a testament to Saudi Arabia’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations with China, fostering cultural exchange, and unlocking new avenues for mutual growth.

Majid Khan, CEO of ACP, emphasized the significance of this partnership, stating that it represents a crucial step towards enhancing connectivity between the two countries, which are key priority markets. The collaboration aims to facilitate tourism and business activities, enabling individuals to explore the attractions and opportunities in both nations.

China Eastern Airlines echoes this sentiment, viewing the launch of the new route as the commencement of a meaningful partnership with ACP and a pivotal moment in the deepening cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China. The initiative, dubbed the "Air Silk Road," is expected to stimulate trade, foster people-to-people exchanges, and facilitate dialogues across various sectors.

Aligned with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which focuses on economic diversification and the development of sectors such as tourism and aviation, the Kingdom aims to position itself as a leading aviation hub in the Middle East and a vital link between East and West. Having surpassed its tourism targets for 2023, the Kingdom is now eyeing even more ambitious goals for 2030, aiming to attract 150 million tourists, including 70 million foreign visitors.

Led by the Ministry of Tourism, the Saudi Air Connectivity Program plays a crucial role in achieving these objectives by enhancing air connectivity from underserved markets to the Kingdom. By bridging the tourism and aviation sectors, ACP contributes to realizing the National Tourism Strategy's vision and establishing Saudi Arabia as a global leader in tourism air connectivity.

China Eastern Airlines, as one of China's prominent state-owned airlines, is poised to play a pivotal role in this endeavor, further solidifying the strong ties between Saudi Arabia and China.

Read also: Oman introduces plans for 31 billion dollars in tourism investment by 2040

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