China Southern connects Guangzhou to NYC

Updated: 2014-08-06 11:06

By Amy He in New York (China Daily USA)

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China Southern Airlines launched its direct roundtrip service between Guangzhou and New York today, connecting the southern hub of China to the US for the first time as more Chinese airlines continue to cater to a growing number of international fliers.

China Southern's maiden flight out of Guangzhou arrived in New York at the John F. Kennedy International Airport early Wednesday morning, welcomed by a water arch salute. Si Xianmin, chairman of China Southern, Chen Gang, executive vice-president, and Li Jun, assistant-president, were on the flight.

The 15-hour non-stop flights will be offered four times a week, using the carrier's new Boeing 777-300ER. Flights out of Guangzhou depart at 1:40 am local time and arrive at 5:15 am in New York. Return flights leave at 11:15 am local time and arrive in Guangzhou at 3:15 pm.

"[The new route] is a revolution led by China Southern Airlines' reform strategy. By having gateways in both East Coast and West Coast, we will create a more convenient connection between the US and China. It also gives passengers an opportunity to form better US networks and for us to create more products," said Lu Weixi, senior vice-president of the Americas for China Southern.

China Southern connects Guangzhou to NYC

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province, a key manufacturing and commercial hub. Its proximity to Shenzhen and Hong Kong makes it a popular destination for migrant workers and business enterprises.

It is home to many factories and assembly lines that contribute to mass production. The city's economy grew by 11.6 percent year-on-year in 2013, reaching 1.54 trillion yuan ($253.8 billion).

"Guangdong province was the first place where China began reforming and opened its market, it is now the fastest developed province in the Chinese economy as well. As the capital city, Guangzhou has become the gateway for China to open their doors to a global market," Lu said.

"There are many similarities between Guangzhou and New York in respects to large-scale development, advancement and innovation. This route to Guangzhou will allow travelers from the US to experience a new destination and will present travelers with an abundance of opportunities for leisure, education and business."

Guangzhou-based China Southern is one of the world's largest airlines by number of passengers carried, transporting more than 90 million in 2013, according to the company. It ranks No 1 in Asia with the largest fleet and number of passengers transported, and has its headquarters at the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou.

The establishment of the New York-Guangzhou route is China Southern's first new US route since the airline began operating in the country in 1997. Its last new North American route was between Vancouver and Guangzhou in 2012. Last year, the company added a route between Guangzhou and Moscow.

China Southern operates more than 1,900 flights daily to 190 destinations in 40 countries.

(China Daily USA 08/06/2014 page1)