The go-ahead for the Chinese airline to launch services is part of Saudi Arabia's fast-track aviation strategy. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation has given the signal to China Southern Airlines to launch passenger and cargo services, which will start April 16. This will see flights operate from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen to Riyadh.

The summer 2024 schedule will have four passenger flights and three air cargo flights weekly.

“We welcome this latest announcement of new routes to Saudi Arabia, which provides a welcome boost to Saudi Arabia’s global connectivity,” said Ali Mohammed Rajab, Executive Vice-President for Air Transport and International Cooperation.

It ‘demonstrates the progress that is being made in delivering on the objectives of the Saudi Aviation Strategy and will create more competitive and empowered aviation and tourism sectors’.

Saudi Arabia is unleashing unprecedented aviation opportunities as the Kingdom connects to the world.

- Ali Mohammed Rajab at GACA

The announcement follows a February 2024 visit by a Saudi delegation to China, where a MoU was signed to strengthen air transport and airfreight was signed by GACA President Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Dauilej and Civil Aviation Administration of China Administrator Song Zhiyong.

The new routes will ‘strengthen the Kingdom’s global connectivity’ and lead to ‘greater competition in the Saudi aviation sector’.

The Saudi Aviation Strategy aims to more than double the Kingdom’s connectivity by end of this decade. It will include through a dedicated Saudi Air Connectivity Program to support the Kingdom’s aviation and tourism sectors.