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