China Southern Airlines

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China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd.
Zhōngguó Nánfāng Hángkōng Gōngsī
China Southern Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1988
Secondary hubs
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Sky Pearl Club
Airport lounge Sky Pearl Lounge
Alliance SkyTeam
Fleet size 700
Destinations 190
Company slogan Fly your dreams
Headquarters Guangzhou, Guangdong, People's Republic of China
Key people
  • Tan Wangeng (S: 谭万庚, T:, 譚萬庚, P: Tán Wàngēng, President)
Revenue Increase CN¥99.514 billion (2012)[1]
Operating income Increase CN¥5.099 billion (2012)[1]
Net income Decrease CN¥2.619 billion (2012)[1]
Total assets Increase CN¥142.45 billion (2012)[1]
Total equity Increase CN¥39.734 billion (2012)[1]
Employees 100,000 (2015-2016)[2]
Website (Chinese)
China Southern Airlines
Simplified Chinese 中国南方航空公司
Traditional Chinese 中國南方航空公司
China Southern Airlines Airbus A380 departing Hong Kong

China Southern Airlines Company Limited (SSE: 600029, SEHK1055, NYSEZNH) is an airline headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China. It is the world's sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried and Asia's largest airline in fleet size, revenue and passengers carried. It is the fourth-largest airline in the world in domestic passenger traffic and the sixth-largest in scheduled domestic passenger-kilometres flown. From its main hubs at Beijing Capital International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, the airline flies to 193 destinations using a fleet of more than 500 aircraft.

China Southern Airlines was established on 1 July 1988 following the restructuring of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Since then, it acquired and merged with a number of domestic airlines, becoming one of China's "Big Three" airlines (alongside Air China and China Eastern Airlines).[3] China Southern Airlines is a member of SkyTeam.[4] The airlines's logo is a red kapok flower on a blue vertical tail fin.

In 2014, China Southern Airlines carried more than 100 million of domestic and international passengers with an average load factor of 85%.

History and development[edit]


China Southern Airlines Airbus A321 at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, Japan

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.[5] The CAAC was restructured in late 1984 and divided into four major airlines,[6] among which was China Southern Airlines, which became a separate identity on 1 July 1988.[6] 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).[6] During 1991, 6 million passengers were carried, and with 38 Boeing jet airliners, China Southern was serving 90 domestic cities and 17 international destinations.[6] In 1992, the airline raised US$537 million in revenue and posted a $102 million profits; on 17 December 1992, China Southern signed an order for six Boeing 777s, split between four standard −200 series and two longer-range −200ERs.[7] China Southern, 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.[6]

Foreign investments[edit]

In 1994, the Chinese government opened the possibility of 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.[6] Revenue for the year doubled, although profits did not increase significantly due to the costs associated with the airline's growth.[6]

The first of the six Boeing 777s arrived on 28 December 1995.[7] Its first long-haul route, Guangzhou–Beijing–Amsterdam, was launched in 1996.[8] 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.[8] Despite the airline's effort on raising international capacity from the start, domestic traffic made up 80% of the airline's revenue.[6] 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 successfully listed on the Hong Kong and New York Stock Exchanges in July 1997, raising $600–$700 million.[6] It followed up in 2003 at the Shanghai Stock Exchange.[9]

Mergers and acquisitions[edit]

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.[10] On 4 August, China Southern absorbed Zhongyuan Airlines. The following year it acquired China Northern Airlines and China Xinjiang Airlines.[11] 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 taken 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.[12] The first example was delivered on 28 February 2005,[13] 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 do 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.[14] The aircraft would be delivered between 2008 and 2010.[15] 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 were scheduled to arrive sometime in 2011. Boeing used the event to officially 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 aircraft to land in the Republic of China since 1949,[16] 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[17] again landed in Taipei.[18] The government of China and the government of the province of Taiwan both agreed to allow direct flights across the Taiwan Strait in June, ending six decades of limited air travel between the two sides. Following the flight, China Southern Airlines Chairman and pilot of the flight, Liu Shaoyong,[17][18] 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.[17] "

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.[19] It followed up with another Airbus order on 7 July 2006, when it confirmed a deal covering the purchase of 50 more A320 narrow bodies for delivery from 2009.[20] The order included 13 A319-100s, 20 A320-200s and 17 A321-200s, reportedly worth $3.3 billion at list price.[21] In December 2005, China Southern Airlines along with CASGC, announced an order with Boeing for 9 Boeing 737-700s and 11 Boeing 737-800s.

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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

Recent developments[edit]

During 2009, China Southern Airlines remodeled its strategy from a point to point hub to a full hub and spoke carrier, which has been proven successful. Along with that, the airline has rapidly expanded its international market share, particularly in Australia, where passenger numbers in 2011 have been 97% greater than in 2010.[26]

On 21 January 2010, China Southern Airlines announced an order for an additional 20 A320-200s, scheduled for delivery from 2011, due to the falling fuel costs and surging passenger demand.[27]

In March 2010, the Chinese carrier issued new shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai 2010 to raise 10.75 billion yuan[28] ($1.57 billion) in a bid to pay off outstanding loans.[29] In December, CNY810 million ($121.5 million) was injected by China Southern Airlines into its subsidiary Xiamen Airlines to fund its fleet expansion.[30]

In November 2010, China Southern Airlines signed an agreement with Airbus for the purchase of six A330s and 30 A320s–200.[31]

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

On 27 January 2011, China Southern Airlines was awarded a four-star ranking by Skytrax. It is the largest airline to hold this title.[32]

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

On 17 October 2011, China Southern Airlines made its first flight with the Airbus A380.

On 6 June 2012, China Southern Airlines inaugurated its first flight from Guangzhou to London-Heathrow, also known as the "Canton Route". The opening frequency is reported to be three times weekly. China Southern Airlines launched as part of its aggressive expansion in Australia, as well as to compete in the kangaroo route along with other carriers Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Malaysia Airlines.[33]

During May–June 2012, China Southern Airlines has recruited Dutch flight attendants to serve the First and Business class sections for flights from Guangzhou to Amsterdam.[34]

On 7 June 2013, China Southern Airlines began operating its first Boeing 787.

Shortly after the disappearance and crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, China Southern revealed that seven of the passengers had bought tickets on the flight via its codeshare agreement with Malaysia Airlines. Two of those passengers have been confirmed to have been traveling with stolen passports.[35]

In early 2015 it was announced that the airline would lease 24 Airbus A320neo aircraft from AerCap for delivery between 2016 and 2019.[36]

Corporate affairs[edit]

China Southern Airlines Headquarters in Guangzhou

China Southern is headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China.[37][38][39]

China Southern plans to open a new headquarters facility on a 988-acre (400 ha) site on the outskirts of Guangzhou, about 4 miles (6.4 km) from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Woods Bagot won a competition for the architect firm which would design the facility. The proposed site consists of two parcels of land on opposite sides of a highway leading to Baiyun Airport; both sites are shaped like wings. The site will have a bridge and light rail system that operates above the highway to connect the two parcels, which will each have distinct functions. For instance, the east parcel will house internal functions such as the data center facilities, staff dormitories, and the training center. The airline wants it to be aesthetically pleasing from the air since it sits below a runway approach. The site will have a lot of outdoor space, which Woods Bagot designed along with Hargreaves Associates and Sherwood Design Engineers. Jean Weng, a Woods Bagot Beijing-based principal, said "Most Chinese cities are very dense and very urban, but China Southern wants to create a human-scale campus, that’s close to nature."[40]


China Southern Airlines Airbus A330-200 on short final to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2011

China Southern Airlines serves 193 destinations in 35 different countries worldwide.[41] It maintains a strong presence in the domestic market with its main hubs at Beijing Capital International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, and Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport, along with other focus cities in Changchun, Changsha, Dalian, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. The airline plans to continue to develop Chongqing and Ürümqi as hubs as well to exploit the domestic market potential.[42]

China Southern currently offers 485 flights a day from its Guangzhou hub and 221 from its Beijing hub.[26] The airline provides services to 65 international destinations. Most of the international flights link Guangzhou with world cities. There are also plenty of international flights operated through Beijing, Ürümqi (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 has become the Chinese airline with the largest presence in Australia.[43] China Southern is also considering expanding into the South American markets, as well as further expansion into the African market.[33]


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 any global airline alliance,[44] expanding the alliance's presence on mainland China.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

The airline has also codeshare agreements with the following airlines, in addition to SkyTeam members:[citation needed]


The China Southern Airlines Passenger fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of July 2016):[47][48]

China Southern Airlines Passenger Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
F C W Y Total
Airbus A319-100 36 8 23 84 125 24 in the process of being sold to United Airlines.
Airbus A320-200 122 28 24 120 152 5 leased to Chongqing Airlines
1 leased to Royal Cambodian Air Force
Order starts by 2016
Airbus A321-200 83 17 12 143 179 New order are to have new interior and delivered from 2016.
Airbus A330-200 10 4 24 48 142 218 B-6528 in SkyTeam livery
6 24 50 184 257 B-6057 in 2010 Asian Games livery
Airbus A330-300 8 10 4 24 48 208 284
13 7 30 48 197 275 B-5928 and B-5970 in SkyTeam livery
Airbus A380-800 5 8 70 428 506
Boeing 737-300 3 145 145 To be replaced by A320 family and 737 Next Generation
Boeing 737-700 29 8 24 88 120 6 with winglets
119 143
Boeing 737-800 136 1 8 132 164 74 with winglets, B-5640 in SkyTeam livery
Boeing 757-200 12 8 23 160 191 To be sold back to Boeing[49]
Boeing 777-200 4 18 40 316 374
Boeing 777-300ER 10 [50] 4 34 44 227 309 Deliveries 2014 – 2016, first aircraft delivered on 25 February 2014,[51] B-2049 in SkyTeam livery.
Boeing 787-8 10 4 24 200 228
Comac C919 20 TBA
Embraer E190LR 20 6 92 98 Leased from CLC[52]
China Southern Cargo Fleet
Boeing 747-400F 2 [53]
Boeing 777F 12 [54]
Total 521 82

Fleet gallery[edit]


China Southern Airlines Airbus A380-800 (tail # B-6136) at Beijing International Airport (PEK). (2014)

China Southern Airlines is the only Chinese airline to order and to operate an Airbus A380. The airline initially operated these aircraft on Beijing–Hong Kong and Beijing–Guangzhou routes. However, these services struggled to be profitable. Due to the demand limitation of the airlines' international hub at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, few routes from Guangzhou have the demand to support an A380. In effort to make its A380s viable, China Southern started operating A380 on its GuangzhouLos Angeles route and on the GuangzhouSydney route. Now the A380 comes to Sydney every summer (southern hemisphere) during its peak travel period. As from 20 June 2015, China Southern will operate the Airbus A380 from Beijing to Amsterdam.


China Southern Cargo Boeing 777F landing at Frankfurt Airport (2010)
China Southern Cargo retired 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 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.[55]

Fleet History[edit]

China Southern Airlines has previously operated the following aircraft:



China Southern Airlines offers First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class.

First Class

China Southern Airlines offers an "Experience Luxurious Skybed" on Boeing 787-8s. It is equipped with personal privacy, in-built massage, a 17-inch personal TV and fully reclining seat. It also has First Class on Airbus A330s and Boeing 777-300ERs, which features a seat pitch of 84 inches and converts into a fully flat bed with a personal TV.

China Southern Airlines offers Premium First Class on select flights, such as on the Beijing-Guangzhou route. This cabin offers more amenities and is more spacious than Regular First Class, such as a variety of lighting options and a private storage cabinet with a password lock.[56]

Business Class

Business Class also offers a fully flat bed, and an adjustable privacy divider. It includes a USB port and a reading light. It also has a 15-inch TV.[57]

Economy Class

Economy Class features a comfortable seat and a 9-inch personal TV. It also has a multi-adjustable headrest.[58]

Premium Economy class

China Southern also 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.[59]

Sky Pearl Club[edit]

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; pinyin: Míngzhū Jùlèbù). 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. Additionally, Sky Pearl Club members can 'earn and burn' mileage on 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 is divided into two tiers: Sky Pearl Gold Card and Sky Pearl Silver Card.[60]

Sky Pearl Club Membership Tiers
Tier Level Benefits Requirements
  • Elite bonus mileages: 30% of statute mileage
  • Confirmed full fare Economy reservation: 48 hours before departure
  • Premium check-in: First Class counter
  • Lounge access: First class Lounge with one companion
  • Extra baggage allowance: 15 kg 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 before departure
  • Premium check-in: Business Class counter
  • Lounge access: Business class lounge
  • Extra baggage allowance: 10 kg 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[edit]

  • 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, China Southern Airlines Flight 3943, a Boeing 737-300, crashed into a hill near Guilin, Guangxi, due to an engine thrust malfunction. All 141 people on board were killed[61][62]
  • On 8 May 1997, China Southern Flight 3456, a Boeing 737-300, crashed on approach to Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport killing 35 people and injuring 9.[63]
  • On 22 August 2006, China Southern Airlines Flight 325 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.[64][65]
  • On 7 March 2008, an attempt to hijack and crash a flight en route from Urumqi to Beijing was averted when the crew found a 19-year-old woman trying to spill gasoline in the toilet. The pilot made an emergency landing at Lanzhou Airport and two passengers were arrested.[66]
  • On 10 May 2012, China Southern Airlines flight 3235 from Guangzhou to Shanghai hit severe turbulence about 20 minutes after take-off. Eight passengers and three crew members were injured, some with fractures. Nine persons were taken to hospital after arrival.[67][68]
  • On 4 March 2014, China Southern Airlines flight 628 was flying from Tokyo to Shenyang. After takeoff from Narita International Airport, North Korea fired 7 short-ranged missiles. The plane, carrying 220 passengers, passed through one missile's trajectory.[69]
  • On 10 November 2014, China Southern Airlines flight 3739 was flying from Zhuhai to Beijing when the crew reported a smell of smoke in the cabin. The flight was subsequently diverted to Guangzhou.[70] A bird strike shortly after takeoff is thought to be the likely cause, according to the investigation report.[71]


Shipping of primates to laboratories[edit]

In 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ordered China Southern Airlines to pay $11,600 in fines for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) during the airline’s transport of monkeys to laboratories in the United States. The USDA found the airline had transported more than 1,000 monkeys into the United States without federal permission to do so and had transported the animals in insecure crates. Previously, the airline had been ordered to pay $14,438 for AWA violations during one transport that left more than a dozen monkeys dead after they went without food and water for an extended period of time. Following these most recent violations, China Southern announced that it would no longer transport monkeys to laboratories. PETA had protested against the airline for these shipments.[72][73]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]