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China Eastern Airlines is set to inaugurate direct flights between Shanghai and Riyadh in April, marking a significant milestone in air connectivity between Saudi Arabia and China. The initiative, a joint effort between the Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP) and China Eastern Airlines, aims to bolster travel and trade relations between the two nations, Wego reports.

Commencing operations on 8 April 2024, China Eastern Airlines will roll out three weekly flights linking Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) and Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH). The service will utilize the A330-200 aircraft, offering a total capacity of 35,880 inbound seats annually.

The collaboration underscores the increasing demand for travel between Saudi Arabia and China, reflecting the countries’ mutual interest in fostering cultural exchange and economic growth. ACP CEO Majid Khan expressed optimism about the partnership, emphasizing its importance in enhancing connectivity and facilitating tourism and business opportunities between the two nations.

China Eastern Airlines views the launch of the new route as a pivotal moment in strengthening ties with ACP and deepening cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China. The initiative is poised to facilitate greater trade, encourage people-to-people exchanges, and foster dialogue across various sectors, reinforcing the concept of an ‘Air Silk Road’ between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims to position the Kingdom as a leading aviation hub bridging East and West. The nation has surpassed tourism targets, attracting 100 million tourists, including 27 million foreign visitors in 2023. Recently, Saudi Arabia has set ambitious goals to welcome 150 million tourists, including 70 million foreign visitors, by 2030.

Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP), overseen by the Ministry of Tourism, aims to enhance air connectivity from untapped markets to Saudi Arabia. By bridging tourism and aviation, ACP positions the Kingdom as a global leader in tourism air connectivity.