China Southern to launch 6 new international routes

Close up of a China Southern Airlines Boeing 777 on approach.
Shimin Gu (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – As capacity steadily increases, China Southern decides to launch 6 new international routes.


The airline is launching its new scheduled services in Cambodia, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Turkey, as speculation rises that China might soon ease COVID-related measures on international flights.

The airline has decided to plan flights from Zhengzhou (CGO), the capital of east-central Henan province, as well as additional flights from Shenzhen in the southeast of the country and flights from Xi’an.

From Zhengzhou, data provided by OAG Schedules Analyzer to shows that the airline will begin serving Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on Dec. 29, followed by Singapore Changi (SIN) on Jan. 1, 2023.

Service on both routes will be once a week using Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Kuala Lumpur is already being served by Southern from Guangzhou and Shenzhen, while Singapore is being served from Guangzhou and Changsha.

The carrier will be the sole operator of Zhengzhou-Kuala Lumpur flights but will compete with Scoot in the Singapore market. The Singapore Airlines subsidiary serves the sector weekly onboard 787-8s.

Southern will fly to Amsterdam from Shenzhen starting January 2, which will be initially operated by A330s once a week. It will be the airline’s second together with the Amsterdam-Guangzhou route. There are also 2 cargo flights to Amsterdam from Shanghai and Chongqing.

Flights to Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, will commence on January 6, with flights departing from Xi’an. This route will be operated with 737-800s.

This route will make China Southern the sole airline operating in Kazakhstan at the time of writing. China Southern did operate to Almaty and Nur-Sultan until the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Nanning will get Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh from December 22 and it will be operated twice a week.

The final new destination for China Southern is Istanbul from Guangzhou in early 2023. Operations will start on January 10, 2023, using 787-9s and it will be flown twice a week.

This will be the airline’s second route along Wuhan to Istanbul, which is operated once a week.

China Southern networks

After an analysis of OAG data that has been obtained by shows that China Southern is operating 43 international routes starting on December 12 with a weekly production of 25,500 seats. This is an increase from 30 international routes with 20000 weekly seats of one month ago.

Some of the routes that have returned include Guangzhou to New York JFK, while Guangzhou to Nairobi has experienced a decrease to 2 weekly flights after January 9.

One of the speculations is that Beijing might relax its stringent international travel measures after Hong Kong’s loosening restrictions. One of the restrictions that Beijing gave up on was the use of a mobile tracking app.

This has caused a massive spike in domestic airline capacity to more than 1.9 million weekly seats, which is an increase of 200,000 seats from November. The expected figure for January is 2.4 million seats, which is about 7% higher than 2019, or pre-pandemic levels.

The domestic isn’t the only category that has experienced growth, however. International seats have experienced about 202,000 departure seats, which is a 20% growth of November.

Another destination besides New York JFK that will see a frequency increase will be Vienna to Shanghai Pudong. The service will increase to a biweekly service, starting January 16 and it will be operated using Boeing 777 aircraft.

Air China will also be launching a new destination, namely Athens, Greece. The route will for now be operated once a week from Shanghai from December 22, via Chengdu on the inbound leg, while China Eastern Airlines has also launched Wuhan-Hong Kong on December 15, which is also once weekly.

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