China Southern Airlines looks set to launch flights between London Heathrow and Guangzhou next summer, according to a report by Australian Aviation.
The website reports China Southern’s president Tan Wan Geng as saying that the carrier plans to launch flights between its Guangzhou hub and London from June 2012.
Australian Aviation also reports that China Southern plans to “begin operating four Airbus A380s on routes between its Guangzhou hub and major cities in Europe and the US”, although the potential London route would most likely be operated with a smaller aircraft, at least initially.
There are currently no non-stop flights between the UK and Guangzhou – China Southern operates flights to Amsterdam and Paris, codesharing with fellow Skyteam members KLM and Air France.
Lufthansa currently offers flights from Frankfurt, but the carrier is set to drop these from next March (see online news November 14).
The news shows the potential for Chinese carriers to become influential players on the important kangaroo route between Europe and Australia. China Southern already operates into five Australian cities from Guangzhou, so a new route to London would tap into connection possibilities in and out of the Chinese city.
For a look at the Europe-Australia route, and the threat to BA and Qantas's market share from Middle East and Asian carriers, see Alex McWhirter's In Focus in the December / January issue of Business Traveller.
Guangzhou is located in southern China, around 120km northwest of Hong Kong, and is the capital of the Guangdong province.
For more information visit csair.com.
Report by Mark Caswell