China Southern Airlines has announced a major overhaul of its Australian operations with its newest airliners being deployed to every port, including one of its five A380s on the Guangzhou to Sydney route.
Speaking at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Sydney this week, China Southern Executive Vice President Chen Gang said the A380 service would start on October 27 as part of a major expansion strategy down under.
The superjumbo will replace the present CZ325/326 A330-300 service, which departs Sydney at 9.50am and arrives back in Guangzhou at 5.30pm the same day.
Chen also revealed that Melbourne and Sydney would receive China Southern’s latest A330-300 and -200 aircraft offering flatbed comfort up front and personal TVs throughout, by the end of October. The new A330-223 aircraft was introduced to Brisbane and Perth at the start of April.
“Australia remains our most important overseas market and the test bed for our global strategy,” Chen said.
“The new A380 Sydney service will be only the second international route for our superjumbos and underlines how crucial the region is to China Southern’s network growth.”
A Sydney Airport report estimates that China Southern’s single daily A380 service will generate 5000 jobs and contribute about AUD$390 million to the Australian economy over a full year.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said China Southern was an important aviation partner.
“Ever since the airline first started flights to our country, China Southern has continually looked to expand its Australian operations, through new services, more frequencies and, now, by deploying the largest commercial passenger aircraft in the world,” he said.
“Last year, China Southern carried more than one in five of all Chinese visitors to Australia, and the introduction of the A380 is the most powerful indication yet of the airline’s future ambitions and confidence in the Australian market.”
As part of an ongoing strategy to improve the airline’s inflight service, Chen also announced that a pool of 400 dedicated English-speaking cabin crew were being deployed across the airline’s vast network including on the Sydney A380 and new A330s.
China Southern presently operates 38 weekly flights to the region, with plans to increase to 55 flights by 2015.