Airline extends its international reach

By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-03-19 10:08
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China Southern Airlines, China's largest carrier in terms of fleet size, is scheduled to open more international non-stop flights starting from April, covering New Zealand, Europe and North America.

The direct flight between Guangzhou and Auckland will take off on April 8, using the Airbus 330-200, three times a week.

Starting from June 7, the carrier will open the direct link between Guangzhou and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, also three times a week, with the Airbus 330-200. It has Beijing-Amsterdam daily flights already.

And by June 15, it will be available for people from the capital city in Guangdong province to take a non-stop flight on a Boeing 777 to Vancouver in Canada.

It will also add more flights on its Guangzhou-Paris and Guangzhou-Los Angeles link, from the current four times a week to seven times in this summer.

"It's part of the efforts to build up and enhance our long-haul flights on our global route network," says Kong Fansheng, vice-president of the carrier's Beijing branch.

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In recent years, China Southern has launched nine international routes that take off from Beijing, with destinations including Amsterdam, Dubai and Seoul.

"We have set up a tri-hub international route map based on Guangzhou, Beijing and Urumchi," Kong says.

China Southern has launched 11 international routes and 43 domestic routes in Urumqi, in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, one of its three hubs.

In total the airline has opened 170 international and regional routes, linking Beijing, Guangzhou and Urumqi with 81 cities around the world. By cooperating and sharing agreement with its Skyteam partners of foreign airlines, the carrier's passengers can fly to 169 countries.

Grabbing more market share for long-distance and trans-pacific flights means a lot to airlines. It can optimize an airlines' flight structure, enhance presence on the global map and more importantly, lower carriers' operation costs.

China Southern has been hit by high-speed railway development so seizing opportunities to launch more international flights is one way to avoid missing out on development, according to the airlines' strategic development report.

Currently, Air China leads in terms of launching international routes, with about 50 percent of its total routes, followed by China Eastern Airlines, around 30 percent, and China Southern Airlines, at 25 percent.