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China Southern keen on Qantas or Virgin Australia alliance

By David Flynn     Filed under: china southern, Guangzhou, Kangaroo Route

China Southern’s CEO says he is keen on forming an alliance with either Qantas or Virgin Australia as part of the airline’s continues growth in both the Australian and global market.

“China Southern is very interested in this regard” said China Southern chief Tan Wangeng during a press conference held this morning at the airline’s Guangzhou hub.

“We would be very happy to cooperate with Qantas and Virgin. I have expressed my interest in this through various Australian channels and I am looking for the perfect opportunity to meet with my Australian counterparts and talk about the  possibility… if Australian airlines are also interested in working with China Southern it would be very beneficial for them.”

More flights on the roadmap

China Southern aims to boost its number of Australia flights by almost 50% as the airline aims for a larger slice of our international travel pie.

“It is expected that by the end of 2015, China Southern flights in Australia will exceed 110” Tan predicted.

The airline currently has 39 return services per week (for a total of 78 flights, which is how China Southern prefers to count them) between Australia and its Guangzhou hub, and will add three more from December with the launch of a thrice-weekly service to Brisbane via Cairns.

“China Southern considers Australia as the most important overseas market” said Tan. “We established the strategy of first developing Australian transfers and then linking Europe and Oceania around the hub of Guangzhou.”

China Southern already holds 45% of the travel market between Australia/New Zealand and China, and in the first half of 2012 carried 308,000 passengers in Australia and New Zealand, an increase of 28.4% year on year.

The Canton Route and European Fan

A central spoke of this is the recently-launched ‘Canton Route’ between Australia and London via Guangzhou, which will step up to a daily service from October 28.

China Southern will heavily promote this as an alternative to other Kangaroo Route hubs, from traditional stopover bases such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok (the later two of which Qantas now only serves in a halfway capacity, with onwards journeys covered by BA) to the middle-eastern hubs of Dubai (Emirates) and Abu Dhabi (Etihad & Virgin Australia).

However, it’s not just about London: Guangzhou feeds into what China Southern terms its ‘European fan network’ to 20 other cities on the continent, with additional connections via the airlines of alliance partner SkyTeam.

China Southern will introduce the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flights between Sydney and London, and Tan said there were also plans in place to launch an Airbus A380 on the same route.

David Flynn is attending China Southern's Canton Route press conference in Guangzhou as a guest of China Southern.

Get the latest business traveller and frequent flyer news – follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter at @AusBT.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 15/8/12 by aero-seat

Doesn't China Southern already have a small partnership with Virgin Australia? I found this on the Virgin Australia website and there is even a link to China Southern wesbite. ( Perhaps Asia's largest airline is seeking a more broader and stronger partnership (such as codeshare flights, currently Virgin Australia doesn't codeshare with China Southern at all)

1 on 15/8/12 by David

Yes, it's a basic 'interline agreement', CZ would be gunning for a codeshare with full reciprocity on frequent flyer programs, lounge access etc, plus also a lot more of a push in marketing... (If you're interested, Ben Sandilands at Plane Talking has an interesting write-up on the options and how messy it all gets with the assorted airline relationships, it's a bit of a soap opera!).

2 on 15/8/12 by ollie

So David is China Southern really any good?  Looking forward to a review!

1 on 15/8/12 by David

Exec summary: on our A330 flight there was plenty of room for improvement. CZ knows this and several times during our briefings, made the point that they are working on upgrading service and product.

2 on 15/8/12 by aero-seat

Sorry Ollie, I'm not David but I have had many experiences on China Southern. It isn't a popular airline in Australia but very big in China and in Asia. When it comes to destinations, it's hard to find an airport in China (or even Asia) it doesn't cover. It's domestic flights are similar to the Qantas domestic offering but for international flights, the difference to domestic isn't much.

On the economy flights to Australia, some planes have seatback entertainment but its looped with a few movies, other planes just have the screens on the aisle where everyone looks at. The seats are pretty decent but it lacks in legroom and the meals wouldn't be the best. 

On the A380 (which operates from Guangzhou to Beijing nicely), the experience is much better. In Business or First class for international flights, they sometimes offer mini-suites refering to the ones that are wrapped around for privacy, they are really good compared to other Chinese airlines I have flown on. For some reason, it's meals are a shame.

1 on 15/8/12 by ollie

Thanks Aero.  I had assumed since CZ  was getting so much coverage here on AusBT recently that they might be at least OK but it appears that isn't the case and it sounds like David will set the story straight soon!


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