An Airbus A380 flight of China Southern Airlines Co is ready for taking off in Shenzhen Airport. The airline expects its hubs in Guangzhou and Urumqi to be strengthened by the "One Belt, One Road" initiatives. [Photo/China Daily]
China Southern Airlines Co, the country's largest carrier by fleet, expects its hubs in Guangzhou and Urumqi to be strengthened by the country's "One Belt, One Road" initiatives.
The action plan on these initiatives issued late last month calls for international hub airports such as Shanghai and Guangzhou to assume additional functions, said Guo Jianye, director of the marketing committee of the airline, which is listed in Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York.
With its role as a window of westward opening-up, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, of which Urumqi is the capital, will become a core area on the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Given the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region's proximity to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an important gateway connecting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will be formed, said Guo. That will be another advantage for the Guangzhou-based airline.
Compared with its domestic competitors, China Southern has more flights, destinations and market share in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, Central Asia and the Middle East, Guo said.
It transported 4.5 million passengers last year on routes related to the "One Belt, One Road" strategy, up 15.1 percent year-on-year, and 900,000 passengers on those routes in the first two months of this year, up 26.4 percent.
The airport of Guangzhou, in South China's Guangdong province, has become a hub for the airline's transit passengers, The airport served 27.23 million passengers last year. The carrier's network from Guangzhou extends to 135 cities, including 38 overseas ones.
China Southern Airlines will accelerate the development of routes to Southeast Asia, with the priority going to higher frequencies of flights from Guangzhou to Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila and Phnom Penh, Guo said.
It plans to launch routes between Guangzhou and Sabah, Malaysia, as well as Vientiane, Laos; Mandalay, Myanmar; Cebu, the Philippines; Nha Trang, Vietnam and Koh Samui, Thailand.
For the African market, it plans to launch direct flights between Guangzhou and Nairobi in June or July.