China Southern To Launch Direct Flights Beijing To London

China Southern Airlines looks set to operate a new route from Daxing Airport, Beijing, to London from September 2019.

China Southern Boeing 787 Dreamliner Guangzhou
China Southern Boeing 787 takes off from Guangzhou. Photo by Boeing.

The route has been a possibility for months but, according to reporting by Business Traveller and Xinhuanet, it has now been confirmed.

Business Traveller speculates that China Southern could codeshare with British Airways (BA) and, if so, would provide BA with representation at Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport. The route is further expansion for China Southern, broadening the connections it offers.

Though not yet confirmed, China Southern may choose London Heathrow instead of Gatwick. Its current routes from Guangzhou Airport arrive at Heathrow.

A new route from 2019

The state-owned airline is expected to begin operating the new route later in 2019. The exact date may depend on the opening of Daxing Airport, which is likely to be before September 30th. Also, as reported by Business Traveller, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced work on the new airport should be completed by June 30th.

Speaking at a conference on March 3rd, CAAC director Feng Zhenglin said flight inspections had been completed. The airport has a targeted passenger capacity of 45 million by 2021 and 72 million by 2025.

Beijing Capital International Airport reportedly saw over 95 million passengers in 2017, above its planned 83 million capacity. The passenger volume in 2017 made it the world’s second busiest airport.

China’s five-year development plan to 2020 included building 20 new airports in the country. In January a new report by the CAAC revealed plans to increase China’s current 234 airports to 450 by 2035.

China Southern 737 MAX
A China Southern 737 MAX. Photo: Boeing

China Southern may be the largest carrier at Daxing Airport

As per Aviation International News, China Southern could have the biggest share of the new airport’s traffic. The CAAC has granted the airline 40% of Daxing’s air traffic resources. It will compete with China’s other state-owned airlines, China Eastern and Air China, with all three operating from the new airport as well as Beijing Capital.  Aviation International News and Xinhuanet say plans for China Southern’s new Beijing-London route will include seven round-trip flights per week.

Currently China Southern has 840 aircraft serving 167 international routes to 77 destinations. It transports more passengers than any other carrier in Asia and is among the ten largest airlines globally. On April 24, China Southern added a unique upgrade option to some of its flights, the ability for passengers to purchase empty adjacent seats for extra room.

China Southern
China Southern Economy seating is up for sale. Source: China Southern

On April 20, Simple Flying reported that China Southern had applied for another new route, from Wuhan, China, to JFK, New York. If successful, the new US service will begin in June 2019. China Southern already operates a three-flight per week service between Wuhan and San Francisco.