China Southern Airlines plans to launch its first route to the U.S. East Coast next year, as the carrier continues to ramp up its international operations.
The flight from China Southern’s Guangzhou hub to New York is expected to start in July, the carrier’s CEO Tan Wangeng revealed during a press event in Guangzhou. He says the carrier currently does not have the appropriate aircraft in its fleet to operate the New York route, but this will change next year when deliveries of Boeing 777-300ERs begin.
China Southern only serves two North American destinations with passenger flights—Los Angeles and Vancouver—so adding New York is a major step. “The market in North America is very important, but we currently don’t have a presence on the East Coast,” Tan says.
The airline is firmly committed to its strategy of increasing its mix of international flying, Tan says. Five years ago just 15% of its operations were international, and it wants to increase this share to 30%.
The most important international market for China Southern is Australasia, says Tan. It will operate 48 flights a week to Australia and New Zealand by the end of this year, and the carrier is further demonstrating its commitment to this market by introducing its newest aircraft types there.
China Southern will launch its first Airbus A380 flight to Australia on Oct. 27, deploying the aircraft on its existing Sydney route. Its daily Auckland service will switch from Airbus A330-200s to Boeing 787s on Oct. 28.
The carrier has taken delivery of five of the 10 787s that it ordered. China Southern’s first international destination for the 787 was London Heathrow, and the aircraft is being deployed to its Tokyo and Auckland routes simultaneously. Vancouver is expected to be next.
A second 787 will be earmarked for the Auckland route when the airline boosts flights to 10 times a week during the summer season.
The carrier plans further expansion of its Australasian network. Its next new destinations in this market are likely to be Christchurch and Adelaide, although Tan will not say when these routes might be launched.