In 2019 China Southern will increase the number of US-bound flights
China Southern Airlines have plans to increase the number of US-bound services in cooperation with American Airlines, Bloomberg reports.
A new Beijing Capital airport, fully open in 2019, will become China Southern’s second hub transporting nearly 50 million passengers in and out of Mainland China, exceeding the 30 million the airline flew in 2016 through its base airport in Guangzhou. China Southern plans to operate 250 jets out of the new airport.
“More US-bound flights will be introduced along with American Airlines,” said China Southern Airlines President Tan Wangeng. “The market between China and the US is the biggest one,” Tan told. “We now have flights to cities like New York and Los Angeles but they are just not enough. We hope the frequency reaches a point where people can fly to Beijing for a conference and back to New York in a single day.”
Tan’s ambition is part of a race among China’s top three state airlines to operate on profitable destinations ranging from New York and Los Angeles to London and Frankfurt. The second Beijing’ airport will free up more slots for SkyTeam alliance members and potentially bite a share of Beijing-based flag carrier Air China on international long-haul services.
China’s “big three” airlines have forged ties with their US partners in the fight for more market share. China Southern sold a minor stake to American Airlines earlier this year for $200 million, two years ago Delta Airlines acquired 3.55% of China Eastern for $450 million. Air China has a codeshare agreement with its Star Alliance partner United Continental Holdings. In July, China Eastern and Delta bought 10% of Air France-KLM each, for a total of $881 million. “They invested in each other, though the amount is not so much,” Tan said. “But the meaning is clear.”
As the collaboration between China Eastern, Delta and Air France-KLM deepened within the SkyTeam alliance, China Southern looked beyond this group for a partnership with American Airlines, which is a player in Oneworld alliance. The action fueled rumours that the Chinese airline can leave SkyTeam and join Oneworld. “It’s sensitive and it’s too early to say that.” Tan said. “Now we are a member of SkyTeam, and we have strong cooperation with American Airlines. That’s what I can say.”
China, in general has some serious plans to take over on a global commercial aviation market. China is already the third largest market for aviation leasing, due to Chinese carriers demand for more and more airplanes. The fleet follows the passenger traffic growth in and out of China. According to International Air Transport Association, in 2022 the Chinese passengers market to lead the list of the world’s largest ones. Currently, the largest airline market is the USA with 823 million passengers, flown in 2016, compared to Chinese airlines’ 488 million air travellers.