China Southern heads south on new international routes

Updated: 2011-10-11 07:56

By Xiao Liu (China Daily)

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 China Southern heads south on new international routes

China Southern Airlines is picking up the pace of its international flight expansion, with special attention given to the southern hemisphere. The company, which is headquartered in Guangzhou, has around 420 aircraft. Jing Wei / For China Daily

Airline is now focusing on Australia and New Zealand

BEIJING - China's largest airline by number of aircraft has some aggressive plans to extend its network globally by year's end, through new international flights and more frequent flights on some of its current routes.

The carrier, China Southern Airlines, which has around 420 aircraft, is picking up the pace of its international flight plans, especially those to the South hemisphere.

It is using whatever advantage it has from the location of its headquarters, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, near the border with Hong Kong.

And Australia and New Zealand are the hot new targets of this long-haul flight expansion. By year's end, it plans to have five destinations in Oceania: Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Brisbane and Perth.

Plans call for two routes that connect Beijing with Australia with four flights per week.

The Beijing-Guangzhou-Brisbane route will kick off on Oct 30 with four flights a week; the Beijing-Guangzhou-Perth route will be opened on Nov 8, with three flights a week. And, by Nov 22, a Beijing to Istanbul flight via Urumqi will be scheduled to open with three flights a week.

This announcement came in a recent China Southern promotion event at ticket agents and travel services in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Urumqi, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.

By the end of October, the carrier will add more flights to its Guangzhou-Melbourne and Guangzhou-Auckland, New Zealand lines to meet the rising demands of business people and vacationers, especially those from China.

The link to Perth, the capital of the state of West Australia, will open a gateway to the far western part of this immense country. Perth has seen relatively fewer Chinese travelers, but does in fact have some very close ties with China's consumers.

Statistics show that trade between China and West Australia last year was worth $45 billion and it accounted for 70 percent of China's total Australia trade.

"Take for example, the lobsters, wine, and iron ore - the things you most associate with Australia - that's where we have abundant resources," explained Allen Cheng, marketing manager of Western Australia Tourism for the greater China area.

One out of each 10 families in West Australia has its own boat, which is a symbol of the quality of life. The state is a popular tourist destination for Europeans, but only started its tourism promotions in the China market about six years ago. It has about 60,000 tourists from China annually on average.

Meanwhile, representative of the Turkish tourism business seem to agree with Cheng's positive attitude, and have said that the flight to Istanbul will stimulate the growth of tourism between the two.

China Southern's main bases, outside Guangzhou, are Beijing and Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/11/2011 page15)