China Southern Airlines will increase its flights connecting Australia and the UK from three per week to daily, citing strong passenger demand months after Qantas scaled back services on the route.
China Southern’s “Canton Route,” launched in June, connects Melbourne and Sydney to London Heathrow via China Southern’s hub in Guangzhou, with a connection time of about three hours. The carrier said it would increase to daily A330 London services from October 28.
The route carries a minimum travel time of around 26 hours heading west, roughly 90 minutes longer than Qantas flights via Singapore or Bangkok, but China Southern generally offers considerably lower fares. Web searches for return tickets in mid November show China Southern fares starting at around $1,600 while a Qantas ticket starts at nearly $2,000.
China Southern currently flies to Guangzhou twice daily from Sydney, daily from Melbourne, four times weekly from Brisbane and three time per week from Perth, and offers European connections to Paris and Amsterdam in addition to London. The fast growing carrier has outlined plans to dramatically increase flights to and from Australia as it seeks to establish Guangzhou as a major international travel hub.
Qantas, meanwhile, has cut back services on its once lucrative “Kangaroo Route” to London as part of a larger contraction of its money-losing international business.