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China's West Air to start its thrice-weekly service to Singapore

WEST Air, a Chongqing-based airline, will start its thrice-a-week service between Singapore and the Western Chinese city, beginning with an inaugural flight expected to arrive in the city-state on Thursday.

The new service, on an Airbus A320-200 with a capacity of 180 seats, represents the Chinese carrier's first international service. It comes on the back of a bilateral pledge to grow air connectivity between Singapore and Chongqing - famed as a starting point for the Yangtze River cruise.

On Jan 8, 2016, Changi Airport Group (CAG), Chongqing Airport Group, SilkAir, Air China Ltd Chongqing Branch, China West Air, and Chongqing Airlines entered into a six-party Memorandum of Strategic Cooperation to enhance air connectivity between Western China and Singapore.

Under the memorandum, both airports will work closely with the airline partners to mount new flights and increase flight frequencies, not just between Singapore and Chongqing, but also to boost transfer traffic via both hubs.

Both airports will support the airlines to develop connectivity from cities in Western China (such as Urumqi, Xining and Lhasa) via Chongqing to Singapore, cultivating the aviation market between Singapore and relevant cities under China's "One Belt, One Road" plan.

CAG said it has been expanding Changi's connectivity to China's emerging cities. Four new Chinese city links were added to the airport's network in 2015 - Sanya, Changchun, Quanzhou and Yinchuan. In 2015, China traffic grew a healthy 7 per cent year on year, while compounded annual growth (CAGR) for the 2010-2015 period was a robust 8 per cent.