Asian carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Iranian operator Mahan Air will both introduce connections to the Chinese city of Guangzhou with new flights during the summer 2013 schedule from Manila and Tehran, respectively. The new service will further strengthen the growth of Baiyun International Airport, the main gateway to Guangzhou and presently the second largest facility in China.
Guangzhou, also known by its older English name of Canton, has a population of more than 10 million people and is the capital of the Guangdong province, which contributes approximately 12 per cent of China’s national economic output, and is home to the production facilities and offices of a wide-ranging set of multinational and Chinese corporations.
PAL plans to introduce a four times weekly link from June 2, 2013 using an Airbus A320, returning to a market it last served from the Philippines capital in August 1984. It will compete directly with China Southern Airlines and budget carrier Cebu Pacific on the route, which generates a demand of around 97,000 bi-directional O&D passengers every year. In the past year point-to-point demand has risen 10.0 per cent with both existing operators witnessing notable growth.
The new Guangzhou link is part of a wider network expansion that will see a total of six new destinations being added to PAL’s route network from Manila. Alongside, Guangzhou the carrier will introduce services to Kuala Lumpur in Malyasia from May 1, 2013 to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from October 1, 2013 and to the Australian cities of Brisbane, Darwin and Perth from June 1, 2013.
PAL is launching the new routes in response to growing demand for enhanced air links from Manila and brings its total number of international destinations (including Manila) to 34. “Australia, Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou are major destinations for business and leisure. Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, has a large concentration of OFWs, making it a prime destination in the Middle East,” said Ramon S. Ang, president, Philippine Airlines.
Meanwhile, Iranian carrier Mahan Air has also revealed plans to serve the southern Chinese industrial port city of Guangzhou to further cement its position in one of the world's fastest growing economies, where it already serves the Shanghai market. From May 19, 2013 the carrier will introduce a twice weekly service between Tehran and Guangzhou using an A310 configured in a two-class arrangement with 24 Business Class and 160 Economy seats.
We are proud to announce that China is, and will continue to be, a strategically vital part of Mahan Air expansion plans and with the trade level between China and Iran at all time high, we cannot afford to ignore a country with such a thriving and buoyant economy,” said a spokesman for Mahan Air. In 2012 an estimated 127,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled between Iran and China.