05 June . 2024

Riyadh Air and China Eastern Airlines Sign MoU at IATA AGM in Dubai, Fostering Mutually Beneficial Connectivity and Digital Innovation

  • Agreement reflects the growing relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People’s Republic of China
  • Airlines will work closely together to develop and grow connectivity in both countries as Riyadh Air aims to operate flights to China as a priority in its international network, complementing China Eastern’s existing service to Riyadh


Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia's new digitally native airline, took a significant step forward in its future entry into the key Chinese market by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Eastern Airlines, a leading global airline based in Shanghai, at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 3, 2024 in Dubai.

This strategic partnership strengthens the growing economic and cultural ties between China and Saudi Arabia while unlocking new travel options for underserved markets. China Eastern Airlines recently launched direct flights from Shanghai to Riyadh, demonstrating a shared commitment to enhancing connectivity and fostering collaboration in areas like trade, tourism, and culture.

Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air:

This MoU marks a significant milestone for Riyadh Air as China is a hugely important market for our future network. By closely collaborating with China Eastern Airlines, a leading player in the Chinese market, we can unlock new travel opportunities and drive economic growth across both countries. We are particularly excited to explore synergies in digital innovation, where both airlines share a commitment to the future of travel.
Our collaboration extends beyond conventional connectivity, fostering collaboration on digital transformation, a critical area for Chinese airlines. Recognizing China Eastern's ongoing digitalization efforts, Riyadh Air sees immense potential for knowledge sharing and technology development. Riyadh Air's pioneering approach perfectly aligns with China Eastern's focus on digital transformation, creating a powerful partnership for the future.

Wang Zhiqing, Chairman of China Eastern Airlines:

Benefiting from the forward development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Saudi Arabia, China Eastern Airlines has reached a strategic cooperation with Riyadh Air focused on the future. The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding outlines the broad direction for cooperation between the two companies in areas such as business and promotes exchanges in information technology and digital operations. We are full of anticipation for the outcomes of this cooperation. China Eastern Airlines is committed to driving high-quality development through comprehensive digital empowerment, enhancing core competitiveness, and providing excellent products and experiences for our customers.
Additionally, the Memorandum of Understanding facilitates the seamless connection between China Eastern Airlines' Shanghai-based hub network and Riyadh Air's future route network. This will ease passenger transfers between China and regions such as the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and South America, fostering new development and growth for both parties.

Riyadh Air is a pioneering force in digital aviation, shaping the future of travel with a focus on innovation and exceptional guest experiences. As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's new national carrier, Riyadh Air connects passengers to key destinations globally while showcasing the beauty and rich heritage of the Kingdom.