China To Begin Direct Flights To Uzbekistan
China Southern Airlines will start operating direct flights between Urumqi In China’s Xinjiang Province and Tashkent (Uzbekistan) from October 14 this year, according to Uzbekistan Airports. Regular flights will be carried out on Boeing 737 and Boeing 787 aircraft once a week on Fridays. The flying time is about 2 hours as the aircraft crosses the Tian Shan Mountain ranges.
China Southern Airlines is based in Guangzhou, in China’s southern Guangdong Province, just north of Hong Kong. It is the largest Asian airline in terms of fleet size, as well as the largest air carrier in Asia.
China-Uzbek trade has been growing, with Chinese exports to Uzbekistan increasing by 27.6% between July 2021 and July 2022 to US$554 million. China sees Uzbekistan as a regional hub to ultimately reach markets in Central Asia and to the Middle East, and its companies are actively involved in building infrastructure to do so, including a planned railway line via Kyrgyzstan. The agreement to start direct flights comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Heads of State summit. China signed deals worth US$15 billion with Uzbekistan at that event.
The main products China exports to Uzbekistan are coated flat-rolled Iron, broadcasting equipment, and synthetic yarn. Uzbekistan mainly exports petroleum gas, cotton yarn, refined copper and agricultural fruits to China. Uzbekistan is also attractive for Chinese export manufacturers looking to establish operations int he country as Uzbekistan has extensive trade agreements with the European Union and United Kingdom, which China does not possess.