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Clearer skies for China Southern with new Boeing Dreamliner?

Posted: 06/12/2013 6:32 pm

The much delayed arrival of Boeing’s troubled Dreamliner at Baiyun Airport earlier this month has breathed some life into China Southern.

Make no mistake, this landing cements China Southern’s emergence as a serious player in the air. It’s the only global airline to operate both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 – two of the world’s most advanced aircraft.

The flight path to Guangzhou was bumpy, though.

Over in Seattle, a crack team worked round-the-clock to fix the many problems which plagued the plane, which originally forced a worldwide grounding of the 787 fleet.

At last, and after many apologies from Boeing, one of China Southern’s top lieutenants was delighted to be handed control of his “baby.”

The 787 is tipped to fly to Paris after it serves domestic routes for the next three months. Auckland, London and Vancouver are next in the pipeline as are nine more Dreamliners.

Flying to major cities in Europe and the Americas is now affordable with the fuel-efficient 787, potentially bringing unsustainable losses from international operations to an end.

Here’s a line from my previous aviation update:

The combined popularity of Asia’s largest airline and the allure of Australia means that all services Down Under are turning a profit. It’s a rare bright spot, with most international routes deep in the red as a result of aggressive expansion.

Transiting should be a big part of a refreshed strategy as increasing number of passengers are using the Canton Route to fly between Europe and Australia. Aside from being cheaper, the 72-hour visa free policy gives another reason to fly China Southern.

Getting approval to launch the service overseas was hard to come by, however. Beijing’s iron fist has ruled over Guangzhou’s flying ambition for years.

With the regulator’s refusal to approve international flights, the A380′s entry into China has been as painful as childbirth. It ensured that China Southern couldn’t fly its flagship plane outside of Chinese airspace.

Since its inception, the A380 has lost CSA RMB400 million (US$62.5 million) up to March 2013, according to a report in National Business Daily. Given the losses generated by international operations, the red ink from the A380 hurts.

Only now, at long last, is it able to launch flights to Los Angeles and Sydney.

China Southern’s first quarter earnings saw an 82 per cent slump in net profit to RMB57 million (US$9.1 million).

Photos: Byeangel/Flickr and Noel Jones


Hong Kong Airlines dumps London service, new flights from Guangzhou to Japan

Posted: 08/20/2012 2:42 pm

This week, a mix of good and bad news for the Pearl River Delta airspace.

HK Airlines dumps loss-making London service
Hong Kong Airlines seems to be in a tailspin. The airline already cancelled its all-business class service to London Gatwick only seven months after it announced the service amid much fanfare.

All tickets from September 3 were shown as sold out last week, which raised speculation the London route was about to fall under the axe. Poor planning and miscalculations have led to the service being “deep in the red” ever since the launch, according to the SCMP.

Post reporter Charlotte So has more figures on HK Airlines’ errors:

The operating cost of the 14-hour flight is estimated at HK$3 million, including fuel costs, crew allowances and inflight meals.

Insiders said the carrier burns about HK$1 million to HK$2 million a day on the service and around HK$10 million a month. The monthly losses are lower than they would normally be because the airline cancels the services from time to time depending on the demand.

The company blamed troubles in Europe for failing to lure passengers away from Cathay Pacific and British Airways.

Now, HK Airlines, backed by the HNA Group, owner of China’s fourth largest carrier Hainan Airlines, will attempt to build on its Asian connections.

In the days leading up to the cancellation of its London service the airline was cited by regulators for poor service, blocking any expansion to the fleet.  According to Reuters, this lead to HK Airlines cancelling its $3.8 billion order for 10 Airbus A380s.

Jeffrey Lowe, general manager of Asian Sky Group, a Hong Kong-based aviation consultants group told Reuters:

It sounds like a very diplomatic way to say that we think your safety standards are slipping so, until you can show us you can handle any additional aircraft being added to your fleet, we would not approve it.

And the airline is still reeling from Typhoon Vicente, taking over a week to clear the backlog of passengers caught up in the worst storm to batter the South China coast in 13 years.

The final flight will pick up Hong Kong’s Paralympians, as the official carrier for the athletes, from London on September 10.

Kangaroo versus Canton? The battle of the skies heats up
Guangzhou’s China Southern Airlines (CSA) is bringing out its best aircraft for its new Sydney-London route, adding pressure to competitors in the battle for passengers, profits and prestige.

CSA president and CEO Tan Wangeng told Australian Business Traveller the airline’s new 787 Dreamliner will be deployed on the route.

We will spare no effort in building the Canton Route into a premium product, using new Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The news will cause some concern at Qantas, where its struggling international outfit, including that of their Kangaroo Route via Singapore, faces stiff competition against the likes of Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and more.

China Southern will be the first airline to utilise the aircraft in British and Australian airspace beating both country’s own flagship carriers.

Japan-China seal Open-Skies deal
Japan and China have signed a new air deal boosting the number of flights between the two countries, liberalising the Sino-Japan market.

The deal, announced on August 8, will see new routes and increased frequencies which include Guangzhou-Tokyo Haneda for the first time. The pact has already roused interest with many Japanese-based airlines eyeing new departures to China.

Ethiopian u-turn on 787 service to Guangzhou
Ethiopian Airlines has dropped plans to deploy its new 787 Dreamliner to Guangzhou. While not good for passengers, it will be good news for China Southern which will have the honour of being the first carrier to utilise the newest aircraft in the mainland.

Hong Kong Airlines picture by Benson Kua on Flickr


Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner to serve Guangzhou beginning in August

Posted: 05/22/2012 7:00 am

Last week The Nanfang reported on Ethiopian Airlines sweeping changes making Addis Ababa-Guangzhou a non-stop flight, avoiding Bangkok as part of a wider shake-up of its East Asian offering. From August 16, passengers will now be able to take Ethiopian’s brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner all the way to Baiyun Airport seven days a week.

The African carrier has stolen some of the limelight from China Southern Airlines, which was due to receive its first 787 ahead of Ethiopian in July.  So far, though it has made no announcements on its arrival, flight schedule or when fare-paying passengers can make reservations.

Guangzhou’s burgeoning “Little Africa” community concentrated in Yuexiu and Baiyun districts makes Guangzhou a prime destination for African carriers.  Furthermore, the decision for Ethiopian to utilise its new flagship plane on the route means capitalizing on the hundreds of billions of RMB being poured into Africa.

Ethiopian is the first airline to bring the revolutionary Dreamliner to the Pearl River Delta for regular passenger service.

The arrival of the 787 to Guangzhou is a huge coup for airport bosses, but it seen by some as a snub to its bigger, dominant rival the Hong Kong International Airport – which was originally in line to be serviced by the first round of Dreamliners.

But back on October 26 2011, the world’s first Dreamliner flight – an All Nippon Airways special charter – took off from Tokyo and landed in Hong Kong.  Boeing’s latest plane hasn’t been back since.

Source: Airline Route

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