Northwest China’s Xi’an opens air routes to all Central Asian countries

By Wang Lewen, Zhang Danhua, People’s Daily

Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi province, opened an air route to Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan, on May 18.

It marked the 16th international passenger flight route currently in service in Xi’an. Today, a total of 11 flights flying each week between Xi’an and Central Asian destinations.

At present, Xi’an becomes the only Chinese city that has opened air routes to all the five Central Asian countries.

According to Zhang Xuan, general manager of the marketing department of the Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, the airport will resume and open 30 air routes in each of the next three years to destinations including Central Asia, West Asia, and even Central and Eastern Europe, to facilitate the tourism, business and trade exchanges.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). From camel caravans in ancient times to express trains and international flights, the transport evolution has significantly shortened the distance between Xi’an and Central Asia.

As the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an has intensively integrated itself into Belt and Road construction over the past decade. It has witnessed how the BRI has transitioned from high-level plans to intensive and meticulous implementation under the joint efforts of participating countries and regions.

The China-Central Asia Summit, the first major diplomatic activity that China hosts this year, kicked off in Xi’an as scheduled. It is the first summit held offline by the heads of state of the six countries since the establishment of diplomatic ties 31 years ago, and a historic milestone in the development of relations between China and Central Asian countries.

Nodir Nurmatov, governor of the Jizzakh region, Uzbekistan, arrived in Xi’an days before the summit. He said representatives from some 30 government departments and enterprises in the Jizzakh region would visit China during the summit, hoping that the summit would promote the growth of foreign trade between China and Uzbekistan and further strengthen their economic and trade ties.

The summit is currently being organized in the decorated conference center in an orderly and friendly atmosphere. The staff is doing their best to meet foreign guests’ demands in transport, currency exchange and other areas. Considerate and hospitable catering services are provided, providing the guests with exquisite Chinese cuisine.

“We have done our best to prepare for the summit, striving to host a high-standard, timely-responded and outstanding event,” said Yao Hongjuan, director in charge of foreign affairs of Shaanxi province.

Yao said the summit will demonstrate a brand-new image of Xi’an to the world, expand the cooperation between Shaanxi province and Central Asian countries and improve the province’s capability in serving major diplomatic activities.