January 28, 2013
Credit: Credit: Airbus
China Southern Airlines will bid for a greater share of the Chinese market in 2013 by flying 11% more capacity than last year, growing faster than the national traffic target.
The carrier, already China’s largest, will boost capacity on highly profitable routes and increase cooperation between its subsidiaries, General Manager Tan Wangeng told the company’s annual general meeting. Internationally, it is focusing especially on Australia and Southeast Asia.
For this year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China is targeting 8% higher passenger and freight traffic for Chinese mainland airlines. In 2012, their traffic was up 6.1%. If the national target is hit and China Southern maintains its average loads while flying 11% more capacity, it will take traffic share from such rivals as Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
The industry’s composite traffic figures, expressed in ton-kilometers, combine passenger and freight payloads.
Despite its size, China Southern has the weakest international network of Chinese airlines, mainly because its home city, Guangzhou, is a less attractive destination than Shanghai and Beijing, where its main rivals are based. Competition from nearby Hong Kong also detracts from Guangzhou’s traffic.
Tan says the international share of its traffic rose last year. Key developments in its international business have included strengthening of services to Australia over the past few years and, in October, the deployment of Airbus A380s on the route linking Los Angeles and Guangzhou.
“Currently, the company’s international operations are steadily recovering,” Tan said in remarks carried by the Xinhua news agency. “The passenger load factor on the Guangzhou to Sydney route has reached 90%. The company will steadily develop the Australian and Southeast Asian markets into an area in which it has unique strengths.
“Since the A380 has been deployed on the route between Guangzhou and Los Angeles, the situation has been fairly good. The average passenger load factor has reached about 84%,” he added.
Consistent with the government’s targeting of stronger traffic growth, the view of China Southern Chairman Si Xianmin is that uncertainties remain for 2013, but conditions should be better than in 2012. He says the industry is in a fairly stable growth phase because of the steady popularization of air travel in China, the result of rising incomes and the country’s rapid urbanization.