Saudi Arabian national flag carrier Saudia is celebrating ten years of operations between the Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China. The Jeddah-based airline marked the occasion of its anniversary with a flight between Jeddah and Guangzhou on March 27th.
The service between King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport operates three days per week as a tag flight stopping at King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh. A tag flight is when an airline lands in one city and then follows that with another stop before returning home.
Saudia operates a Boeing 787-9 on the route
Saudia deployed a Boeing Boeing 777-200 on the 4,692 mile-long flight in the early days. As Saudia gradually built up its market presence in China, passenger demand grew. In response to this, Saudia upgraded the aircraft to a Boeing 777-300 in 2017 and then to a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2019.
Currently, Saudia serves Guangzhou with seven non-stop flights per week. Three of these fly from Jeddah and four from the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.
In April 2018, Saudia was the first airline to operate out of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airports’ new Terminal 2 and still operates its Saudia Arabia bound flights from there.
When COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, Saudia monitored the situation closely and responded to the pandemic by suspending flights between the Kingdom and Guangzhou from February 1, 2020, until July 22, 2020.
While passenger flights were temporarily suspended, Saudia used its aircraft to fly PPE and medical equipment. As a result of this, Saudia carried 543 tons of much-needed equipment from China to the KIngdom. The Riyadh – Guangzhou route was also the first link in Saudia’s global network to utilize commercial passenger slots for cargo purposes.
Guangzhou flights are important
When speaking about the 10th anniversary of Saudi Arabia to China flights, Saudia’s Country Manager for China, Hong Kong & Taiwan, Mr. Reham Zarei said,
“Thanks to Saudia’s outstanding contributions to the global efforts to fight the pandemic, the Saudi Arabia-Guangzhou route has been instrumental during these unprecedented times. In leading up to the tenth year of operations, the airline has grown from strength-to-strength in its presence in China, providing an important air link connecting economic and business ties via Saudia’s operational hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Guangzhou airport authority for their continued and ongoing support of SAUDIA’s operations. We look forward to increasing our partnership and cooperation in order to build on the successes so far.
“On behalf of the Saudia family, I also extend my gratitude and appreciation to our colleagues in China who have made profound contributions to the airline’s success in Guangzhou through their commitment and dedication to providing exceptional guest experiences.”
Saudia codeshare with CSA
Passengers traveling from the Kingdom to Guangzhou can connect to other cities in China and the region thanks to Saudia’s long-term codeshare agreement with China Southern Airlines (CSA).
China Southern Airlines operates from two major hubs at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN) and Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). CSA is one of China’s “Big Three” airlines together with China Eastern Airlines and Air China. CSA flies to 193 destinations in 35 counties and has a strong domestic presence with secondary hubs in most Chinese cities.
In case you were wondering why Guangzhou Airport has CAN for its IATA airport code, it is because, during the Age of Discovery, the Portuguese called the city “Cantão.” When the British arrived in the 1800s, they identified the city by the Portuguese name calling it “Canton” and the language spoken by the natives as being “Cantonese.”
With an average aircraft age of five years, Saudia operates one of the youngest fleets of aircraft in the skies flying to all domestic airports in Saudi Arabia and 90 destinations worldwide.
Have you ever flown on a Saudia flight between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China? If so, please tell us what you thought of it in the comments.