- Air Astana plane touched down in Jeddah on Thursday
- Berik Aryn, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News flights will be carried out on Wednesdays and Sundays, and from November, on Wednesdays and Saturdays
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan are set to boost bilateral trade, including tourism, after the Central Asian country’s Air Astana flag carrier operated its first direct flight to the Kingdom on Oct. 5.
Berik Aryn, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News on Friday: “Yes, Air Astana has operated the first regular flight from Almaty to Jeddah. It was launched yesterday (Thursday) and was received upon arrival by our consulate team in Jeddah.”
He added that this month, flights will be carried out on Wednesdays and Sundays, and from November, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“Hopefully, from the beginning of December, a third frequency on Mondays will be added to the schedule,” said the envoy.
“(Saudi budget airline) Flynas is also planning to operate flights in November from Jeddah,” said Aryn, adding: “We are also trying to operate direct flights from Riyadh.
“We are also in conversation with other airlines here to operate flights between the two countries,” said the envoy.
“This is good for further deepening bilateral ties and will encourage tourism and trade flourish between the two countries.”
In December last year, speaking at a roadshow titled “Tourism in Almaty,” organized by the Kazakhstan Embassy in Riyadh, Aryn told Arab News that Kazakhstan had relaxed visa requirements for Saudis visiting the Central Asian country.
“From January to September 2022, we witnessed an increase in tourists to Kazakhstan. I would also like to mention the increase in the number of Kazakh citizens who visited Saudi Arabia in 2022, which reached 20,000,” he said at the time.
“We understand that these figures still do not respond to the potential partnership in tourism. Nevertheless, we believe that our joint efforts are now providing favorable conditions for increasing tourism and building up trade and economic cooperation,” the envoy added.
An official statement from the Kazakh airline said: “Air Astana performed the first regular flight from Almaty to Jeddah. In October, flights will be operated on Wednesdays and Sundays, and from November, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. From the beginning of December, a third frequency will be added to the schedule on Mondays.”
The flights are operated by comfortable Airbus A321LR aircraft with a two-class layout and a capacity of 166 seats.
The duration of the flight to Jeddah is six hours, 50 minutes, and five hours, 45 minutes inbound to Almaty, the statement added.
The port city of Jeddah, on the shores of the Red Sea, is known as the gateway to the holy city of Makkah.