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New Speedy Railway to Connect Guangzhou South Station and the Airport

Posted: 05/22/2014 12:06 pm

A proposed railway is promising to allow commuters to travel from Guangzhou South Railway Station to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in just 35 minutes.

Announced yesterday in a move to strengthen transportation links between the cities of Guangzhou and Foshan, the new railway line will allow trains to travel at a maximum 200 km/h and will have a total length of 59.44 km.

The new line is planned to have 11 stations including stops in Dashi, Lijiao, Pazhou Convention Center, Tianhe Passenger Terminal, Taihe, Zhuliao, before finally terminating at Guangzhou airport terminals 1, 2 and 3.

While the groundbreaking ceremony to build the new T2 took place back in Aug, 2012, no building date has been confirmed for terminal 3.

It currently takes commuters over an hour to reach the airport from Guangzhou South Railway Station. Commuters need to travel on Line 2 for a total of 23 stops, and then transfer to Line 3 and travel an additional three stops.

Ultimately, the plan is to connect the transportation hubs of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, the Guangzhou South Railway Station, Guangzhou North Railway Station, and Foshan West Railway Station. This route will be have a total length of 158 km, and consist of 14 stations.

The government is currently accepting bids for the construction process.

In other transportation infrastructure news, a proposal to widen the Guangzhou Bridge has been approved. The plan will see the bridge increased from six to ten lanes, and should facilitate traffic to move at a maximum speed of 60km/h. As well, noise barriers will be built for the 237 nearby communities currently affected by noise from the traffic.

And now, the bad news: the construction is expected to last two years.

Photo: iMetro


Boeing 787 Dreamliner now on China Southern’s Guangzhou-London route

Posted: 09/12/2013 5:00 pm

China Southern Airlines started using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route between Guangzhou and London this month, China Daily reports.

Knowing that 60% of passengers who fly the route go onto other destinations, the airline hopes the move will help Guangzhou compete with airports like Dubai as a stop-off for those travelling between Britain and Australia.

The new 72-hour visa free stays that Guangzhou offers is also aimed at attracting tourism from such passengers.

Despite being 20% more fuel efficient than the Airbus 330 previously used by China Southern on this route, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has had a troubled history.

The Daily Telegraph lists this timeline of problems that the plane has faced since the first flight was delayed by three months in September 2007 due to a shortage of fasteners and incomplete software.

The most recent mishaps included the grounding of a Qatar Airways flight due to problems with an electrical panel on July 22 and a fire that broke out on an empty Ethiopian Airlines 787 at London Heathrow on July 12.


Jieyang becomes third airport in Guangdong to offer flights to Taiwan

Posted: 07/9/2013 4:38 pm

There are now three airports in Guangdong from which you can fly to Taiwan.

The maiden flight from Taichung to Jieyang Chaoshan Airport took off on July 6, Guangzhou Daily reports. Jieyang follows Guangzhou and Shenzhen in being able to offer flights to Taiwan and the flight takes just 1 hour.

There will be flights from Taichung to Jieyang Chaoshan every 6 days courtesy of Mandarin Airlines. The planes will hold 104 people, single tickets will cost 1500 RMB including taxes and round trip tickets cost 1960 RMB including taxes.

The flight captain, Lin Changhui, said Taichung is located centrally in Taiwan and offers easy access to most of the island’s popular tourist destinations.

Before this route opened, travellers between the two cities would have to change at either Hong Kong or Xiamen.


Guangzhou, Shenzhen airports affected as 10 bomb hoaxes cause flight chaos

Posted: 05/20/2013 7:00 am

After five Shenzhen-bound flights were grounded due to bomb threats on May 15, the curse of such threats continued to plague the country on May 17 when over ten flights were grounded, including ones from Guangzhou and ones destined for Shenzhen Nandu Daily reports.

Courtesy of Southern Metropolis Daily

Unlike previous bomb threats made by phone, the caller did not specify the flight numbers of the planes targeted, which complicated things even further. On the night of the chaos, media reported that a suspect had been arrested, but airport security later said they hadn’t yet found a suspect.

The first such threat came at 3 p.m. when a threat was made on flights going from Guangzhou to Shanghai. Because no specific flight number had been given, one flight had to divert to Fuzhou, and another had to return to Guangzhou Baiyun airport.

The chaos continued and mostly involved flights from Chongqing and Guangzhou to a variety of cities, including Shenzhen. Four airlines were affected.

Planes were searched for bombs, but none were found.

Whoever does get caught is in big trouble. According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, spreading false terrorist information brings a minimum five year sentence, in accordance with the provisions of section 291 of the Penal Code. If the consequences of this unfunny practical joke prove to be “serious,” then he or she could face a 15 year sentence.


Guangzhou’s flagship carrier slashing fares, and Dragonair to change its name?

Posted: 03/21/2013 8:57 am

When it comes to the airline business, the gloves are off as Guangzhou muscles in on Hong Kong and Singapore’s party.  Here’s another round-up of all the musings in the airline world in the Pearl River Delta.

Cheap Canton
China Southern Airlines is throwing down the gauntlet to the old-guard with rock bottom fares as it attempts to make a name for itself flying between Europe and Australia.

According to Bloomberg, CSA is undercutting Qantas by as much as 34 per cent between Sydney and London. It is prepared to sacrifice profitability so it can take market share away from Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore among others.

Here are the all-important numbers:

China Southern’s cheapest economy-class fare between Sydney and London for a two-week trip starting May 4 was A$1,442 (9,309 yuan, US$1497) on travel booking website yesterday [March 13].

The lowest price for a non-Chinese airline, on Malaysian Airlines, was 19 per cent more expensive at A$1,721 (11,110 yuan, $1,786). Emirates tickets started at A$1,896 (12,240 yuan, $1968) while Singapore Air’s was at A$1,940 (12,524 yuan, $2,014).

The cheapest Qantas ticket was 51 per cent more than China Southern, at A$2,180 (14,074 yuan, $2,263).

Currently, all 30 weekly China Southern flights to Australia from Guangzhou are profitable, an incredible feat. However, a health check on the rest of the airline’s international network tells a different story. The majority are languishing in the red, along with its domestic operations.

These problems can be attributed to a lack of awareness to the CSA brand globally and serious competition in the mainland, but its image is changing as it further embeds itself into the SkyTeam airline alliance.

In announcing the Canton Route last year, it made a play on Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong territory, but it also joined a handful of airlines connecting the dots, usually via the traditional Kangaroo route.

At the start of next month, Australia’s Qantas, which first coined the Kangaroo Route, will leave its Singapore stopover for Dubai in partnership with Emirates, leaving British Airways and Singapore Airlines a wide berth. But these carriers carry some of the highest fares, leaving state-backed CSA to undercut its rivals.

Bloomberg reports:

The [Canton] route will provide experience needed for further expansion into North America and Europe as annual spending by Chinese tourists exceeds $100 billion.

Here’s what the rivals have to say:

The Chinese carriers “are on our radar,” said Simon Hickey, head of Qantas’s international unit.

The competition “keeps us on our toes,” Singapore Air spokesman Nicholas Ionides.

Qantas and Singapore Air are configuring their own strategies for growth and profitablity

Peter Harbison of aviation analyst CAPA says:

“The sheer volumes of travelers mean that eventually China can be the most powerful transit country in the region, probably the world…They will be able to price very, very competitively.”

Plans to make Guangzhou a transit hub of choice are well underway, with upgrades to existing infrastructure and an expansion in full swing. Still, it has a ways to go before it can take on award-winning Changi Airport in Singapore, the premier choice.

BA to go A380 to Hong Kong
British Airways is joining the superjumbo pack later this year as it unleashes its first batch of 12 Airbus A380s to Hong Kong. The UK’s flagship carrier has penned November 15 for its first departure if all goes according to plan.

This will be a boost also to Cathay Pacific, as it joins up with BA to become the partner of choice to take passengers between Australia and Europe. Deploying the A380 will marginalise CSA’s attempts to shift passengers from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.

All change for Dragonair?
Rumours of a name change at Dragonair are being speculated, first reported by CAPA, as Cathay Pacific seeks to accelerate the makeover of the regional airline it bought back in 2006.

A rogue photo sent to the South China Morning Post has heightened speculation that change is afoot.

The name is Dragon… Cathay Dragon.

The hybrid puts a Swire stamp on its purchase, keeping part of the Dragonair brand – stated to be a powerful name among Asian travellers – and shoehorning Cathay, widely recognised around the world, to show who’s in charge.

The option to refresh the brand comes as naming rights expired last year leaving the door open to change.

Dragonair’s cabin offerings will soon be matched to its sister airline in all but colour, giving consistency to customers – a regular complaint among seasoned Cathay travellers shoved onto codeshare flights.

Dragonair image: SCMP / Other images: Danny Lee


Landing system at Guangzhou airport goes on the fritz, 57 flights affected

Posted: 12/21/2012 7:00 am

More than 1,000 passengers were affected when flights were delayed or cancelled and incoming flights were diverted to Shenzhen or Zhuhai on Tuesday (December 18), China Daily reports. The cause was a breakdown in the instrument landing system.

An instrument landing system is a ground-based approach system providing precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runway, using a combination of radio signals and, in many cases, high-intensity lighting to enable a safe landing. It is illegal to allow a plane to land at an airport where the system isn’t functioning, a pilot told the newspaper.

Airport authorities said 57 flights were affected by the breakdown. Twenty-five flights — 15 arrivals and 10 departures — were delayed for more than an hour.

Ten flights were diverted to Shenzhen and Zhuhai airports while another 10 arrivals were canceled by about 10 pm. Operations at the airport, one of the three busiest in China, returned to normal after midnight.

There has been much dissatisfaction with flight delays and cancellations in China this year. It is common for a flight to be delayed without warning or explanation.

The most notorious case this year was when 20 people blocked the runway at Shanghai Pudong Airport to protest the delay of a Shenzhen Airlines flight.


Fuel surcharge is back, GZ gets new Jeddah flight and is on-board Wi-fi coming to Cathay?

Posted: 09/5/2012 4:45 pm

Its another jam-packed round-up of aviation matters in the PRD, making this just about as busy as the PRD’s airspace itself! From fare fuel rises to new routes and testing technology up in the air, here is what you need to know.

Fuel surcharge is back, again
For the third time this year mainland carriers will raise airfares in a battle to keep surging fuel costs under control.

According to Life of Guangzhou, from September 5, surcharges will return to pre-July 5 levels, the last time cuts were made. This means flights over 800km now face a surcharge of RMB130, while those flying shorter distances are hit with an RMB70 charge.

Saudia to go direct from Jeddah, Aeroflot to increase Guangzhou flights
In line with Guangzhou’s growing influence in emerging markets, Saudia is launching a new weekly service to Jeddah starting on December 1, complementing its thrice-weekly Riyadh service.

Outside of Asia, Gulf carriers are the next biggest group of airlines linking up their countries with Guangzhou, China’s manufacturing capital. However, with the popularity of Russia on the rise, Aeroflot is adding an extra flight to Guangzhou.  However, it won’t take to the skies until March next year, although that could change in the coming months as airlines tweak their schedules.

A tech take-off?
Airlines such as Emirates are far and away ahead of the game, helping passengers stay connected in the skies. They currently offer Wi-fi on-board their A380 aircraft, while the UK’s British Airways is introducing the iPad on its transatlantic flights between London and New York. It seems, though, that Cathay Pacific might get in the game to keep up with rivals.

The South China Morning Post’s Charlotte So writes:

Hong Kong’s aviation regulator might be stirred into renewing its rules on the use of electronic gadgets on aircraft following the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to allow greater on-board use of the devices.

Cathay Pacific Airways, which is studying the application of air-to-ground Wi-fi internet services, welcomed the initiatives by regulatory agencies to review and potentially approve the broader use of personal electronic equipment on board, a spokesman said.

Under the existing guidelines set out by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department as well as other international regulators, it is the responsibility of carriers to verify whether devices using wireless local area network (WLAN), including Wi-fi connections, could interfere with aircraft systems.

That is good news, especially if you’re flying long-haul and all you can do is eat and sleep without the luxury of the internet.

Profits tumble for China’s major airlines
China’s leading airlines are piling on debt to grow rapidly and turn themselves into world-beating airlines.

Guangzhou-based China Southern (CSA), China’s biggest airline by passenger numbers, says first-half profits crashed 85 per cent to 424 million yuan because of a slowdown in demand from the world’s second largest economy while fuel costs continue to take a toll.

But it’s not just CSA. Rivals China Eastern reported a 65 per cent slump in net income and Air China fell 77 per cent.

The future isn’t looking as bright as it once was with all the major airlines feeling the negative effects of a weaker Chinese economy, a European debt crisis and a world that hasn’t yet recovered from the global recession five years ago.

Battling bird strikes
Airport authorities in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing are joining forces in a bid to prevent bird strikes from happening after a string of incidents at Pudong Airport since July, according to

The new methods they have jointly developed include splashing insecticide near runways to kill insects so there is no food for birds to look for and releasing a special repellent with a smell birds can’t stand, the Shanghai Airport Authority said on Friday.

Other measures employed include playing recordings of natural predators and setting off explosive charges. Nets are being installed to prevent birds approaching in search of water or food.

Fingers crossed authorities will combat the birds and their nests.

Pictures by Danny Lee

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