Riyadh Air and Air China Strengthen Ties With New Agreement

Riyadh Air and Air China delegates sign new agreement.
Photo Credit: Riyadh Air

Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new national carrier, has firmed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air China. The partnering with China’s leading flag carrier has signalled the importance of the Chinese market.

This agreement was inked on June 3, 2024, at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Dubai. It underscores the growing economic and political ties between the two nations.

Building on the success of Air China’s recently launched Beijing-Riyadh route, this MoU strengthens the connection between these two major G20 capitals.

It paves the way for significant collaboration opportunities, including interline traffic and codeshare agreements, that will streamline travel experiences for passengers journeying between China and the Middle East.

A Partnership for Growth

“This collaboration with Air China, a global leader with an extensive network in key Chinese markets, perfectly complements Riyadh Air’s ambitious goals for the future,” stated Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air.

“This MoU is a significant step towards a long-term partnership. It will ensure seamless travel for passengers traveling between China and the Middle East, with connections beyond.”

“We aim to solidify our positions as vital links, further strengthening economic and cultural ties between our regions. This aligns with both China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

A Riyadh Air Boeing 787 on display.
Mztourist, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ma ChongXian, Chairman of Air China, supported these comments. “With China’s booming economy contributing significantly to global GDP, Riyadh Air presents a strategic gateway for Chinese travelers seeking connections to the Middle East.”

“Our airlines aim to play a critical role in facilitating trade and tourism exchanges, supporting the ambitious development plans of both nations.”

A Look Ahead: Mutual Benefits and Continued Expansion

This MoU signifies the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership between two leading airlines. This will further connect the capitals of China and Saudi Arabia.

With a focus on network expansion and collaboration, both airlines will work together to deepen their cooperation and achieve long-term success.

A China Eastern Airlines Dreamliner on the tarmac.
Photo Credit: PRNewsfoto/China Eastern Airlines

Riyadh Air

As it celebrates its first year, Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s innovative airline, aspires to become the world’s most forward-thinking carrier.

By 2030, they aim to connect passengers to 100 destinations globally, prioritizing sustainability and setting a new standard for travel.

As a key contributor to Vision 2030, Riyadh Air fuels economic diversification and job creation. It seeks to target growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil GDP with the aim of creating over 200,000 new jobs.

Air China: A Leading Force in Chinese Aviation

Air China, the partner airline in this significant MoU, boasts a rich history as China’s national flag carrier.

Established in 1988, it’s a major player in global aviation, particularly for long-haul travel. Their extensive network connects China’s key cities to numerous international destinations.

This partnership leverages Air China’s established reach in the Chinese market, making it easier for passengers to travel between China and the Middle East.

The collaboration between these two airlines has the potential to significantly increase travel options and economic exchange between the regions.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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