Chinese airlines unveil more overseas flight routes as travel peak season arrives
Published: Jun 08, 2023 03:21 PM
A China Southern Airlines plane. File photo: IC

A China Southern Airlines plane. File photo: IC

China Southern Airlines unveiled a regular flight route linking Beijing and London on Wednesday, the latest move by Chinese airlines in expanding their overseas routes post-pandemic.

The route, which will operate seven times a week, will depart from Beijing Daxing International Airport to London Heathrow Airport, the first direct route run by a Chinese airlines between the two airports. The plane is expected to reach London in about 10 hours, the carrier said.

To celebrate the inaugural flight, China Southern Airlines arranged grand departure and welcome ceremonies at both London Heathrow Airport and Beijing Daxing Airport.

Xiao Yong, deputy director general of the commercial steering committee at China Southern Airlines said that the overall ticket price at the start of the year was 20 percent above normal levels, however prices have now settled back toward the same level as 2019. There still remains limited capacity on popular international routes such to the US, Australia and  Europe in June.

Currently, the recovery of the overseas flights for China Southern is nearing 40 percent, with the number of daily flights to overseas countries standing at 123, covering 85 routes of the routes to South Asia and Australia.

As one of the  major air carriers to the UK, China Southern Airlines also services key Chinese markets including Guangzhou, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Sanya for routes to the UK. On April 10, it also resumed a daily route connecting Guangzhou with London.

Inaugural flight ceremony of China Southern Airlines at London Heathrow Airport. Photo: Courtesy of China Southern Airlines

Inaugural flight ceremony of China Southern Airlines at London Heathrow Airport. Photo: Courtesy of China Southern Airlines

Chinese airlines are increasing their presence in the overseas  market as the summer travel peak draws near. From June 11 on, China Eastern Airlines will increase the operation of its Shanghai-Paris route from the previous three round-trips  per week to seven per week.

China Eastern said the carrier will welcome a further boost for its recovery across international routes in June coinciding with the summer holidays, with routes mostly covering Japan and South Korea, Southeast Asia, Europe and Oceania in hot demand.

Information shared by Beijing Daxing International Airport on Wednesday showed that the airport currently covers 22 overseas cities, operated by 16 airlines since the summer - autumn seasons started at the end of March. The airport plans to start flights such as to the cities of Osaka, Nagoya and Jeju flown by Juneyao Airlines.

Currently, Beijing Daxing International Airport facilitates more than 800 flights each day, transporting around 100,000 passengers.

A Qatar Airways flight from Doha landed at Beijing Daxing International Airport on March 26, marking the resumption of passenger service between the capitals of Qatar and China for the first time since the pandemic. 

Beijing is the fifth gateway in China that Qatar Airways has resumed service to since the pandemic, which effectively increases the airline's operations in the market to 39 weekly flights during the peak of the summer season 2023.

The International Air Transport Association on June 5 announced an expected strengthening of airline industry profitability in an upgrade of its outlook for 2023, highlighting that the industry recovery across the Asia-Pacific is underway. Airline industry net profits are expected to reach $9.8 billion in 2023 which is more than double the previous forecast of $4.7 billion made in December 2022.