China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines
Zhōngguó Nánfāng Hángkōng Gōngsī
Founded 1981
AOC # C4XF535F
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Sky Pearl Club
Airport lounge Sky Pearl Lounge
Alliance SkyTeam
Fleet size 349
Destinations 121
Parent company China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd.
Headquarters Guangzhou, Guangdong, People's Republic of China
Key people
  • Si Xianmin (Chairman)
  • Tan Wangeng (President)

China Southern Airlines (simplified Chinese: 中国南方航空公司; traditional Chinese: 中國南方航空公司) (SSE: 600029, SEHK1055, NYSEZNH) is an airline headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China.[1][2][3] It is the world's sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried, and Asia's largest airline in terms of both fleet size and passengers carried. It is also the fourth-largest airline in the world in domestic passenger traffic and the sixth-largest in scheduled domestic passenger-kilometres flown[citation needed]. From its main hubs at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport, the airline flies to 121 destinations using a fleet of 422 aircraft.

China Southern Airlines was established on 1 July 1988 following the restructuring of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Since then, the airline acquired and merged with a number of domestic airlines, becoming one of China's "Big Three" airlines (alongside Air China and China Eastern Airlines).[4] China Southern Airlines is a member of SkyTeam.[5] The airlines's logo is a red kapok on a blue vertical tail fin.

In 2010, China Southern Airlines carried 76.5 million domestic and international passengers with an average load factor of 79.2%. The airline reported a net profit of CNY5.8 billion ($883 million) in 2010.[6]


History and development

China Southern Airlines Airbus A321

China Southern Airlines was established in 1988, following the government's decision to split the operating divisions of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) into separate airlines.[7] The CAAC was restructured in late 1984 and divided into four major airlines,[8] among which was China Southern Airlines, which became a separate identity on 1 July 1988.[8] with operations starting in 1989. Although controlled by the CAAC, China Southern quickly established relationships with Western companies; in 1990, it launched a maintenance joint-venture with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa and Lockheed called Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co. (GAMECO).[8] During 1991, six million passengers were carried, and with 38 Boeing jet airliners, China Southern was serving 90 domestic cities and 17 international destinations.[8] In 1992, the airline raised US$537 million in revenue, and posted a $102 million profits; on 17 December 1992, China Southern also signed an order for six Boeing 777s, split between four standard −200 series and two longer-range −200ERs.[9] China Southern, along with a number of Chinese airlines, was granted financial independence during the year, with a resultant drawback being the purchase of fuel and airport fees.[8]

Foreign investments

In 1994, the Chinese government opened the possibility foreign investments in its airlines; China Southern and United Airlines quickly started talks on the matter. To raise its operating standards and distance itself from mostly unprofitable second- and third-tiers domestic airlines, the carrier signed agreements with a number of U.S. carriers regarding staff training and aircraft maintenance, with the ultimate aim of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange.[8] Revenue for the year doubled, although profits did not increase significantly due to the costs associated with the airline's growth.[8]

The first of the six Boeing 777s arrived on 28 December 1995,[9] making China Southern Airlines the first Asian carrier to operate the type.[8] Its first long-haul route, Guangzhou–Beijing–Amsterdam, was launched in 1996.[10] The following year, China Southern was the first to place its Boeing 777s into non-stop services across the Pacific Ocean, connecting Guangzhou and Los Angeles. Three years later, Boeing 777's were deployed to Sydney and Melbourne.[10] Despite the airline's effort on raising international capacity from the start, domestic traffic made up 80% of the airline's revenue.[8] As a result, it signed a codeshare agreement during the mid-1990s to further increase international traffic.

In order to keep pace with fast developments, China Southern Airlines entered the capital market to optimise its financial structure. The airline is successfully listed on the Hong Kong and New York Stock Exchanges in July 1997, raising $600–$700 million.[8] It followed up in 2003 at the Shanghai Stock Exchange.[11]

Mergers and acquisitions

In July 2000, the CAAC announced that the ten airlines under its direct management will be merged into three airline groups, revolving around Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern itself.[12] On 4 August, China Southern absorbed Zhongyuan Airlines. The following year it acquire China Northern Airlines and China Xinjiang Airlines.[13] In 2004, the merger was completed. As a result, China Southern Airlines became one of the "Big Three" carriers in the country. Since then, it has successively took over shareholding stocks and joined the equity in numerous Chinese carriers. The airline is the major shareholder of Xiamen Airlines (51%) and Chongqing Airlines (60%). It also invests in Sichuan Airlines.

On 29 September 2003, the airline placed an order with Airbus for 4 Trent 700-powered Airbus A330-200s, to be delivered from 2005. This was part of the order placed in April by the China Aviation Supplies Imp. & Exp. Group covering 30 aircraft.[14] The first example was delivered on 28 February 2005,[15] thereby giving China Southern the title of the first mainland Chinese A330 operator. One month earlier, on 28 January 2005, the airline placed a commitment order for 5 Airbus A380-800s, becoming the first Chinese airline to so, with delivery in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Ironically, PRC officials also placed an order for 60 7E7s on the same day for six airlines.[16] The aircraft would be delivered between 2008 and 2010.[17] However, due to delivery delays, the aircraft was not delivered in time for the Olympics and as of May 2010, the first of the aircraft are scheduled to arrive sometime in 2011. Boeing used the event to official designate the aircraft the Boeing 787.

On the same day, a China Southern Airlines Boeing 777–200 originating from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport landed in Taipei, becoming the first mainland Chinese to land in the Republic of China since 1949,[18] when the Kuomintang were involved in the war with the Communist Party of China. The flight carried 234 passengers home after the Lunar New Year. Within three years, in July 2008, a China Southern Airlines Airbus A330 carrying 230 tourists[19] again landed in Taipei.[20] The governments of the two countries agreed to allow directs flights between the countries in June, ending six-decades of limited air travel between the two Chinas. Following the flight, China Southern Airlines Chairman and pilot of the flight, Liu Shaoyong,[19][20] said, "From today onward, regular commercial flights will replace the rumbling warplanes over the skies of the Taiwan Strait, and relations between the two sides will become better and better.[19] "

On 6 September 2005, China Southern Airlines along with CASGC placed an order for a further 10 Airbus A330 wide-body airliners: 8 A330-300s and 2 A330-200s. Aircraft deliveries were due to begin in December 2007 and continue through 2008.[21] It followed up with another Airbus order on 7 July 2006, when it confirmed a deal covering the purchase of 50 more A320 narrowbodies for delivery from 2009.[22] The order included 13 A319-100s, 20 A320-200s and 17 A321-200s, reportedly worth $3.3 billion at list price.[23] In December 2005, China Southern Airlines along with CASGC, announced an order with Boeing for 9 Boeing 737-700s and 11 Boeing 737-800s.

Recent developments

In June 2006, China Southern Airlines confirmed another order of 3 Boeing 737-700s and 7 Boeing 737-800s. The deliveries would continue through 2010.[24] On 18 October 2006, China Southern Airlines placed an order for 6 Boeing 777 freighters, striding forward a brand new step in its cargo development.[25] The aircraft would be delivered from November 2008 to July 2010.

On 20 August 2007, China Southern Airlines announced its intention for an order of 25 Boeing 737-700s and 30 Boeing 737-800s, which will be delivered from May 2011 to October 2013.[26] It was a mere two months before, on 23 October 2007, China Southern Airlines announced that it had placed an order for 10 additional Airbus A330-200s. The order has a listed price of US$1.677 billion and the aircraft will be delivered from March 2010 to August 2012.[27]

On 21 January 2010, China Southern announced an order for an additional 20 A320-200s scheduled for delivery from 2011 – 2013 due to the falling fuel costs and surging passenger demand.[28]

In March, the Chinese carrier issued new shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai 2010 to raise 10.75 billion yuan[29] ($1.57 billion) in a bid to pay off outstanding loans.[30] In December, CNY810 million ($121.5 million) was injected by China Southern Airlines into its subsidiary Xiamen Airlines to fund its fleet expansion.[31]

In November 2010, China Southern Airlines signed an agreement with Airbus for the purchase of six A330s and 30 A320s–200. The specific variant of A330 is not identified.[32]

On 11 January 2011, China Southern announced a lease for 10 Embraer E-190 to be delivered from the second half of 2011.

On 27 January 2011, China Southern was awarded the four star ranking by Skytrax. It is currently the largest 4 star airline to hold this title.[33]

On 15 June 2011 China Southern made its inaugural flight to Vancouver, Canada opening up a new passenger and trade routes including China Southern Cargo's first flight on on 5 July 2011.


China Southern Airlines flies to 169 countries worldwide, including code-share destinations.[11] It maintains a strong presence in the domestic market, with its main hubs being Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport, along with other focus cities in Changchun, Changsha, Dalian, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Ürümqi, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. The airline plans to develop Chongqing and Ürümqi as hubs as well to exploit the domestic market potential.[34]

The airline provides services to 65 international destinations. Most of the international flights link between Guangzhou and world cities. There are also plenty of international flights operated through Beijing, Urumqi (notably to Central Asia) and Dalian (to Japan, South Korea, and Russia). China Southern Airlines has developed an extensive network to Southeast Asia and also becomes the largest Chinese airline to Australia.[35]


On 28 August 2004, China Southern Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the airline alliance SkyTeam. On 15 November 2007, the airline was officially welcomed as the 11th member of SkyTeam, becoming the first mainland Chinese airline to join the global airline alliance,[36] expanding the alliance's presence on mainland China.

Codeshare agreements

The airline has also codeshare agreements with the following airlines (besides SkyTeam members):[35]


China Southern Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of March 2011):[37]

China Southern Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers Notes
F C W Y Total
Airbus A319-100 41 8 23 84 115[38] 27 leased
Airbus A320-200 76 43 8 24 120 152 13 leased
Airbus A321-200 57 12 143 179 10 leased
Airbus A330-200 7
3 4
24 47
B-6528 painted in Skyteam livery
Airbus A330-300 8 4 48 208 284
Airbus A330 6 TBA Ordered in November 2010 – undisclosed variant
Airbus A380-800 1 4 8 70 428 506 First aircraft delivered on 14 October 2011[39][40]
First flight 18 October 2011[41]
Boeing 737–300 25 145 145 3 leased
Boeing 737–700 32 24 8
24 88
11 leased
Boeing 737–800 55 24 8 132 164 21 leased
Boeing 757–200 15 8 23 160 191 2 leased
Boeing 777–200 4 18 40 316 374
Boeing 777-200ER 6 24 53 207 284 B-2056 painted in SkyTeam livery
Boeing 787–8 10 TBA Entry into service: July 2012[42][43]
Embraer ERJ-145 6 50 50
Embraer E-190 7 13 6 92 98 All leased from CDB Leasing Co the aircraft. To be delivered from August 2011.[44]
Total 352 147


China Southern Cargo Boeing 777F landing at Frankfurt Airport (2010)
China Southern Cargo Boeing 747-400F at Amsterdam Airport.

China Southern Cargo is the cargo subsidiary of China Southern Airlines. The cargo airline provides services between mainland China and North America, Europe, and Australia, where destinations such as are Amsterdam, Anchorage, Chicago, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Vienna are served from its main hub at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, with cargo flights to Amsterdam and Milan from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The cargo subsidiary has joined the SkyTeam Cargo alliance in November 2010.[45]

China Southern Cargo Fleet
Type In Service Orders Notes
Boeing 747-400F 2
Boeing 777F 5 7[46]
Total 7 7



Premium Economy class

China Southern offers Premium Economy class, which is more spacious than Economy class. The seats are 35–37 inches (89–94 cm), compared to 31 inches (79 cm) in Economy.[47]

Sky Pearl Club

China Southern Airlines's frequent-flyer program is called Sky Pearl Club (simplified Chinese: 明珠俱乐部; traditional Chinese: 明珠俱樂部). The Sky Pearl Club allows its members earn FFP mileage not only flying China Southern domestic segments but also on flights of other SkyTeam member airlines within the SkyTeam global network. Moreover, The Sky Pearl Club members can 'earn and burn' mileage on the partnered Sichuan Airlines and China Airlines' flights. The mileage earned on the above mentioned flights can be counted into Elite Qualifying Mileages (EQM) and Elite Qualifying Segment (EQS), enabling quick access to SkyTeam elite status. Membership of Sky Pearl Club can be divided into two tiers: Sky Pearl Gold Card and Sky Pearl Silver Card.[48]

Sky Pearl Club Membership Tiers
Tier Level Benefits Requirements
  • Elite bonus mileages: 30% of statute mileage
  • Confirmed full fare Economy reservation: 48 hours prior to departure
  • Premium check-in: First Class counter
  • Lounge access: First class Lounge with one companion
  • Extra baggage allowance: 15kg or 1 piece
  • Priority standby and upgrade
  • Flight delays: First class service
  • Exclusive gifts and information
Elite qualifying mileage (EQM): 80,000 km
Elite qualifying segments (EQS): 40 designated segments
  • Elite bonus mileages: 15% of Statute Mileage
  • Confirmed full fare economy reservation: 72 hours prior to departure
  • Premium check-in: Business Class counter
  • Lounge access: Business class lounge
  • Extra baggage allowance: 10kg or 1 piece
  • Priority standby and upgrade
  • Flight delays: Business Class service
  • Exclusive gifts and information
Elite qualifying mileage(EQM): 40,000 km
Elite qualifying segments(EQS): 20 designated segments

Incidents and accidents

  • On 2 October 1990, a hijacked Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737 crashed into a China Southern Airlines Boeing 757, killing 128 people from both aircraft. See Guangzhou Baiyun aircraft collision
  • On 24 November 1992, Flight 3943, a Boeing 737 jetliner (Reg. B-2523), crashed into a hill near Guilin, Guangxi, killing all 141 on board, due to an engine thrust malfunction.[49][50]
  • On 8 May 1997, Flight 3456, a Boeing 737–300 jetliner (Reg. B-2925), crashed on approach into Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport killing 35, with 9 injured.[51]
  • On 22 August 2006, flight CZ325 from Guangzhou, China to Sydney, Australia had to be turned back to Guangzhou after a note had been found indicating a bomb was on board. The plane was returned to Guangzhou after one hour into the flight. Passengers were interviewed by police for two hours after landing, after which they were allowed back onto the plane to resume their journey. A 39-year-old Australian businessman of Hong Kong origin was arrested after Chinese police matched his handwriting with that of the threatening note found in the lavatory. He was alleged to have told police that he had made the threat because he was lovesick and suffering from depression over a failed relationship, the Xinhua news agency was quoted as saying.[52][53]
  • On 7 March 2008, an attempt to hijack and crash a flight en route to Beijing from Urumqi was averted when the crew found a 19 year old Turkic woman trying to spill gasoline in the toilet. The pilot made an emergency landing at Lanzhou Airport and two passengers were arrested.[54]

See also


  1. ^ "Investor." China Southern Airlines. Retrieved on 29 October 2010. "A hard copy of the Company's complete audited annual report will be provided to any shareholder without charge, upon written request to Company Secretary Office, China Southern Airlines Company Limited at 278 Jichang Road, Guangzhou 510405, Guangdong Province, the Peoples Republic of China."
  2. ^ "董秘信箱." China Southern Airlines. Retrieved on 29 October 2010. "广东省广州市白云区机场路278号中国南方航空股份有限公司董事会秘书办公室"
  3. ^ "China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd." BNet. Retrieved on 21 October 2011.
  4. ^ BIGGER IS BETTER. Flight International. 16-22 SEPTEMBER 2003. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Company Profile: China Southern Airlines." China Southern Airlines. Retrieved on 15 January 2011.
  6. ^ China Southern 2010 net income jumps to $883 million | ATWOnline
  7. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International: p. 55. 27 March 2007. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "China Southern Airlines Company Ltd.". Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "777 Model Summary". Boeing. Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "China Southern Airlines – History". Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Company Profile: China Southern Airlines". China Southern Airlines. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  12. ^ IONIDES, NICHOLAS (16-22 SEPTEMBER 2003). Bigger Is Better. Flight International. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Ng, Eric, Air China Set to Announce Lead Bank for Listing, South China Morning Post, Bus. Sec., 16 July 2001, p. 4.
  14. ^ "China Southern Airlines signs purchase agreement for 4 a330-200 aircraft" (Press release). Airbus. 29 September 2003. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "China Southern Airlines receives first A330-200 aircraft" (Press release). Airbus. 28 February 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Boeing, Chinese Airlines Agree to 787 Dreamliner Purchase" (Press release). Boeing. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  17. ^ Airliner World, April 2005
  18. ^ "Chinese jet makes historic Taiwan flight". USA Today. 28 January 2005. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  19. ^ a b c "China-Taiwan direct flights begin". Fox News. 3 July 2008.,4670,TaiwanChinaTourismHopes,00.html. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "Direct flights between China and Taiwan start". The New York Times. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "Airbus A330-300 / A330-343". Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "Largest Chinese airline buys 50 Airbus jets – Business – International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. 31 December 1969. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  23. ^ "China Southern Agrees to Purchase 50 Airbus A320s (Update3)". Bloomberg. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  24. ^ 中国150架波音737订单全部确认,, 2006-9-14
  25. ^ 中国南方航空公司宣布订购波音777货机,, 19 October 2006
  26. ^ "China Southern to order 55 more 737s". Flight International. 21 August 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  27. ^ Search – Global Edition – The New York Times. International Herald Tribune (2009-03-29). Retrieved on 19 December 2010.
  28. ^ China Southern Airlines to buy 20 Airbus A320. Retrieved on 19 December 2010.
  29. ^ "China Southern Airlines to raise 10.75 billion yuan through private share sales". 9 March 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  30. ^ "China Southern Airlines to Raise $1.57 Billion to Repay Loans". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  31. ^ China Southern provides $122 million to Xiamen for fleet expansion | ATW Online
  32. ^ Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 Aircraft News from Flightglobal
  33. ^ China Southern earns four-star ranking by SKYTRAX
  34. ^ China Southern to develop Chongqing, Urumqi hubs
  35. ^ a b CSN
  36. ^ SkyTeam Benefits. Retrieved on 19 December 2010.
  37. ^ China Southern Airlines – Details and Fleet History – Just Aviation
  38. ^ The Himalayan Times : China Southern Airline to add more flights – Detail News : Nepal News Portal
  39. ^ 14 October 2011 (24 May 2011). "Airbus delivers China Southern Airlines’ first A380 | Airbus News & Events". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  40. ^ 14 October 2011 (24 May 2011). "China Southern Airlines receives its first “Pearl of the sky” A380 jetliner | Airbus News & Events". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  41. ^ "China Southern first to use A380 on domestic services". Flight International. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  42. ^ China Southern: See Further Delays In First Boeing 787 Dreamliner Delivery
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Embraer confirms E-190 sales in China | Australian Aviation Magazine". 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  45. ^ China Southern to join SkyTeam Cargo / March 2010 / News / Home. Air Cargo World. Retrieved on 19 December 2010.
  46. ^ "China Southern orders six 777 freighters." Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  47. ^ "China Southern to offer premium economy on domestic routes". Flight International. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  48. ^ China Southern – Sky Pearl Club
  49. ^ AirDisaster.Com Accident Database
  50. ^ "Jet Crashes in China, Killing 141; 5th Serious Accident in 4 Months." The New York Times.
  51. ^ AirDisaster.Com Accident Database
  52. ^ Aussie arrested over China plane threat. Retrieved on 19 December 2010.
  53. ^ "China detains Australian for airline bomb threat: report". ABC. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  54. ^ "China says militant plots foiled". BBC News. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 

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