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Boost for ‘Vision 2030’ as Saudi & China elevate aviation ties with MoU

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The China visit was a part of the Saudi aviation officials' global mission to explore business opportunities around the world, with Singapore and the United States being the next stoppages

During a meeting in Beijing to discuss investment and technology transfer to boost aviation industry collaboration, Saudi Arabia and China elevated the bilateral air transport collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2024.

A high-level delegation led by Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, president of the Kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, visited the Asian country, while participating in a collaborative round table conference to discuss connectivity collaboration and partnership across several fields.

Both nations also discussed aviation innovations such as sustainable fuels, air mobility, and traffic management systems.

The deal, which aims to expand the scope of bilateral cooperation in air transportation significantly, comes at a time when both Riyadh and Beijing are eyeing the usage of artificial intelligence and digital technology to improve the sector overall.

Key focus areas of the MoU included increasing the number of air transportation stops, enhancing air traffic, and developing comprehensive frameworks for cooperation in air transportation and freight services. The Saudi delegation also stressed significant industry investments and the Kingdom’s readiness for new prospects in the aviation sector.

A pivotal element of the MoU is the mutual commitment to update the existing air transport agreement between Riyadh and Beijing, which aligns with “Vision 2030” and “Saudi Aviation Strategy”, aiming to enhance global connectivity and streamline air transport operations. The move will also help GACA’s (General Authority of Civil Aviation) goal of improving the Kingdom’s airport system, as the Gulf nation expects an influx of 150 million tourists by 2030.

Al-Duailej noted the Kingdom’s accomplishments in investing in airline and airport infrastructure, such as Riyadh Air’s founding.

He also highlighted the opening of King Salman International Airport’s master plan in Riyadh and other critical infrastructure initiatives.

The GACA president also noted that Saudi Arabia plans to connect 250 destinations, serving 330 million people, and double air cargo capacity to 4.5 million tons by 2030 in line with the National Aviation Strategy.

Al-Duailej ended the discussion by promoting the “Riyadh Saudi Airport Exhibition” later 2024, while adding that aviation leaders from around the world would evaluate the sector’s growth over two days. The official also encouraged Chinese companies to invest in the Kingdom and help reshape the global aviation sector.

The China visit was a part of the Saudi aviation officials’ global mission to explore business opportunities around the world, with Singapore and the United States being the next stoppages.

The 11-day tour, which will conclude on February 29, will be integral to the Kingdom’s efforts to strengthen the contribution of its aviation sector to the overall national economy, as it seeks global investments as part of its “Vision 2030” diversification agenda.

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