China Southern, along with Air China and China Eastern, is one of the ‘Big Three’ airlines of The People’s Republic of China. Of the three, China Southern is the largest, carrying over 76 million domestic and international passengers a year.
China Southern Airlines has an extensive domestic and international network, operating predominantly out of its main hub in Guangzhou but also through Beijing, Changchun, Changsha, Dalian, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Ürümqi, Wuhuan and Zhengzhou.
The emergent Kapok
The distinctive bright red symbol on the tail fin of China Southern’s aircraft is that of the Kapok. Occupying a unique niche in the rainforest, this tall and stately tree rises above the canopy, providing a habitat for countless other plants and animals. The Kapok tree enables arboreal animals to move around the rainforest without having to come down to the ground. Its seeds are used for a wide variety of purposes. As a symbol for an airline, it is an interesting and substantive one.
In keeping with that symbolic message, China Southern has been extending its reach by actively upgrading both fleet and services. It signed an agreement with Airbus in 2010, putting six new aircraft on order, and in 2011 the airline launched additional services to Sydney and Melbourne and an entirely new route to Canada.
White Cloud, Pearl River
Situated 28km outside Guangzhou’s city centre, Baiyun International Airport is China Southern’s home port. Guangzhou is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in The People’s Republic of China. The city has historically been known as ‘Canton’ or ‘Kwangchow’ and is located on the Pearl River, roughly 120km north-northwest of Hong Kong.
The location is renowned for the intense and amazing beauty of the nearby mountain range. Baiyun – meaning ‘White Cloud’ – mountain was famous even in the days of the earliest dynasties; its picturesque beauty has inspired art, poetry and hearts for millennia.
Today, Baiyun Mountain is a park with unsurpassed views, spas, summer resorts, restaurants, innumerable gardens, a cable car and, in Mingchun valley, the largest birdcage in Asia.
Greater demand, more connections
Expansion of the Baiyun International Airport is ongoing, including the construction of a Terminal 2, with its own indoor and outdoor parking, a transportation centre and metro station, and a third runway.
In the meantime, as demand increases and construction continues it would be wise to anticipate delays. Despite the ongoing expansion, the existing facilities are very modern and the airport is well serviced by restaurants, rest areas, ATM’s, money exchange services, English signage, and free wifi.
Transfers to and from the airport are straightforward, with excellent bus, subway, airport shuttle and taxi connections with downtown Guangzhou.
Guangzhou is connected to Hong Kong by train, coach and ferry. The train between Guangzhou and Kowloon takes less than two hours, and frequent coaches depart every day, mostly from the major hotels. Travellers choosing to travel between China and Hong Kong, in either direction, should be aware that formal border controls are still in place. Check all visa requirements and leave plenty of time to complete formalities.
Sky Pearl - China Southern Flyer Rewards
China Southern Airlines operates a modern fleet made up of Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and McDonnell Douglas aircraft.
China Southern’s modern Airbus A330s provide four seats in First Class and 24 in Business Class.
First Class offers luxurious seating, which can be programmed to recline at 180 degrees to create a cosy ‘cocoon’. Each seat comes with a footstool and attached LCD for video on-demand. There is a fold-down table for laptops and a closet for personal luggage as well as jackets and coats.
Dining is a flexible affair, with China Southern Airlines’ “On Demand” dining service, offering First and Business Class passengers the opportunity to order their meals and dining times in advance of their flight.
A Premium Economy class is being introduced onto domestic routes wherever possible. The Premium Economy class offers 40% additional space, more privacy, exclusive check-in counters and an extra luggage allowance of 5Kg. Premium Economy class tickets earn customers 10% more frequent flyer points than the full economy ticket.
Economy class has standard catering and entertainment, with toiletries provided for flights over 6 hours.
China Southern’s ‘Sky Pearl Club’ frequent flyer program has more than 8 million members. The Sky Pearl Club mileage bonus scheme enables frequent flyers to accumulate and exchange mileage on flights for China Southern Airlines and partner airlines, and for the Gold and Silver card holders, additional benefits such as preferential check-ins and Club lounges.