The third biggest city in China, Guangzhou, will host World Routes 2018. The prestigious event returning to another Chinese city highlights the importance of this emerging market for aviation and follows its successful hosting in Beijing in 2009 and this year's event in Chengdu later this year. World Routes presents unlimited opportunities to discuss future air service opportunities with the most senior aviation professionals from across the globe.
China is home to the largest population in the world, with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants. This is equivalent to 18.72 percent of the population, and this figure is set to surpass 1.4 billion in 2020.
Guangzhou, also known as the City of Flowers, is the capital city of the Guangdong Province of South China. Guangzhou is home to almost 17 million people – comparable to the population of the Netherlands.
The Chinese Government has approved a plan by Guangzhou to become an international trade centre and regional transportation hub by 2020, targeting a population of 18 million residents. It also has a “One Belt, One Road” strategy which envisions Guangzhou as a key hub.
The ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy was devised by President Xi Jinping to focus on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia. It consists of the land based ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and oceangoing ‘Maritime Silk Road’. The strategy underlines China’s push to take on a larger role within global affairs as well as a need to export China’s production capacity in areas of overproduction.
This strategy covers 65 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Asia, Middle East and Africa and the South Pacific region with a population of over 4.4 billion, accounting for 63 percent of the world’s population. The economic size of this accounts for more than 20 trillion US dollars – 30 percent of the global economy.
The airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport exemplifies this as passenger numbers continue to grow. The value of commodity imports and exports reached 130.6 billion dollars for 2014, with a growth rate of 9.8 percent. The total income of tourism grew by 14.5 percent to 252.2 billion Yuan.
In just four years, the airport successfully introduced 21 foreign airlines including Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines. Between 2011 and 2015, 67 international routes were opened including links to London, Moscow and San Francisco. By 2025, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport will be serving 100 million passengers a year.
Guangzhou has been identified as a Beta + city, joining the likes of Dusseldorf, Tel Aviv, Cape Town and Philadelphia. The rankings of these cities are made by taking into account many factors, but economic factors are deemed more important than cultural or political rankings. Beta level cities are those that link moderate economic regions into the world economy.
China’s 72 hour visa free policy is available in Guangzhou – one of only 18 cities in the country to offer it. This allows transit passengers who are passport holders of up to 51 countries to stay for up to 72 hours. Qualified countries include France, New Zealand, Latvia, Brazil and Singapore. Unlike some of the other cities who offer this, passengers transiting in Guangzhou are able to travel in the whole province.
A confirmed onward seat ticket and a valid visa to the third country (if required) are all that is needed for entry to be eligible. The flights can only stop in one Chinese city, and flights must be used to transfer in China. To secure this visa in Guangzhou, passengers must leave from the same airport in which they arrived.
The importance of Guangzhou as a destination can be clearly seen through confirmed capacity growth from both local and foreign operators at Baiyun International Airport since the New Year. Russian national carrier is deploying larger Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its flights to/from Moscow, replacing the current Airbus A330-300s.
China Southern’s intended service from the gateway to Guangdong province to Kathmandu was bought forward to begin from April 24, 2016 as opposed to the original scheduled date of June 14, 2016. This pairing will be served three times a week.
Philippine Airlines have also increased its service connecting Manila to Guangzhou from four to five times a week. Air Algerie have released a preliminary schedule for a new planned twice weekly service from Algiers to the Chinese city, while Royal Jordanian will reopen their Amman – Bangkok – Guangzhou service, which will run three times a week, using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.