China Southern flight to Perth-Guangzhou set for October

China Southern, the Guangzhou-based airline that’s the largest in Asia and the fifth largest in the world, is set to fly to Perth later this year, Australian Business Traveller has learned.It’s a key business route, with Western Australia’s Deputy Premier Kim Hames highlighting that WA contributes 70% of Australia’s Chinese exports, and an impressive 33% of passengers from Perth to China travelling on business or employment.

China Southern already flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to its hub in Guangzhou, just over 100 km from Hong Kong. Guangzhou is, of course, a key business class destination in its own right, and as China’s second-busiest airport it has extensive connections to other Chinese cities.
The WA government and China Southern inked a deal earlier in May to provide the regulatory backbone for the flights, but our well-placed Perth source tells Australian Business Traveller that the flights are likely to start in October or November this year, with the main holdup being airport capacity.

With Perth Airport already undergoing a three-year $515 million overhaul, China Southern could eventually use its Airbus A380 superjumbos on the route, since the airport upgrades will include A380-capable gates. But in the meantime, we’d expect the flights to kick off with smaller planes, most likely Airbus A330-200 aircraft. China Southern outfits its A330s with 264 seats in a two-class configuration. In business class passengers can expect a 1.9m angled-flat bed in a 2-2-2 cabin arrangement:At the back of the plane is the usual Airbus 2-4-2 economy class cabin layout.

The airline is also reputed to be one of Virgin Australia’s potential partners to connect into the Asian market.That would tie neatly in to Virgin Australia’s agreement with Western Australian regional airline Skywest, which will fly new Virgin Australia-branded planes between the lucrative WA resources sector hubs. An international hub-to-hub flight between Perth and Guangzhou would sweeten the deal for Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti’s plans to be in Asia and I mean all of Asia.

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