China Southern Boosts Auckland Frequency

Our own analysis of MIDT data shows that last year around two thirds of the passengers flying with the airline from or to Auckland actually ended their journeys at other locations than Guangzhou.

China Southern Airlines has confirmed it will increase frequencies on its Guangzhou – Auckland during the southern hemisphere peak summer season to meet with growing demand on the international route. The carrier will boost its weekly flights from ten to a double daily schedule from October 26, 2014 and March 29, 2015, all of which will be flown with modern Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The Chinese carrier made its debut on the route in April 2011 initially offering just three flights per week using an Airbus A320-200 but this was increased to a daily schedule by the end of the year. The A330 service was replaced by a 787 from October 2013 and just two months later in December 2013 a second rotation was introduced on a three times weekly basis.

The increase in frequency will see monthly capacity on the route (November 2014 versus November 2013) increase 182.4 per cent from 7,500 seats to 13,680 seats in each direction. It will introduce an estimated additional 40,000 seats into a bi-directional market that has seen monthly O&D demand rise from just under 2,500 in March 2011 just before China Southern launched the route to around 4,400 in March 2014. In fact monthly O&D demand has peaked at almost 8,000 passengers at the start of this year.

Charles Spillane, Auckland Airport’s acting general manager aeronautical commercial, said the expanded Canton route operation would inject an estimated $43 million into the New Zealand economy. “China is rapidly becoming one of New Zealand’s top visitor markets and China Southern Airlines has recognised this. It’s truly impressive to see a route grow so fast,” he added.

This route is a key part of the China Southern network as it increases its hub operation at Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport. Australia is also a key destination in this model and to supplement the New Zealand capacity increases, the carrier will also be redeploying its A380 Super Jumbos into the Sydney market on one of its two daily rotations from December 1, 2014 until February 28, 2015.

The hub operation at Guangzhou means China Southern does not just have to rely on the point-to-point traffic to make a route sustainable but can generate additional demand through transfer connections. Our own analysis of MIDT data shows that last year around two thirds of the passengers flying with the airline from or to Auckland actually ended their journeys at other locations than Guangzhou. The point-to-point demand to/from Guangzhou was the largest individual market with a 32.4% share followed by London Heathrow (8.9%) and Beijing (6.5%). There were also flows of more than 2,500 bi-directional annual passengers to Dalian, Fuzhou, Shenyang and Zhengzhou in China and the Indian city of Delhi.

“We have seen significant growth in New Zealand transit visitors via Guangzhou. Our newly launched Guangzhou to New York and Frankfurt services will add even more travel options for our New Zealand passengers, and that will further support the performance of the Guangzhou-Auckland route,” said Mike Ma, general manager New Zealand, China Southern Airlines.

“The strong tourism demand between China and New Zealand has given us great confidence in the Auckland-Guangzhou route. We’ve also seen great returns on our investment in the New Zealand market. The support we have received from Auckland Airport and the tourism industry has contributed to our success in New Zealand,” he added.

In our analysis, below, we look at annual bi-directional O&D demand between Guangzhou and Auckland since China Southern Airlines launched the route in 2011.  The data clearly shows the monthly variations in demand across the year and the reasons behind the frequency increase across the southern hemipshere's summer season.