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- Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, Shenzhen Airlines 518128
- Main hub
- Shenzhen Airport
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Star Alliance
- Joined Alliance
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
- Air China
All Nippon Airways
Shenzhen Airlines is a Chinese airline based at Shenzhen International Airport, on the Pearl River Delta in southern China. The airline operates eight branches in Guangzhou, Nanning, Wuxi, Shenyang, Zhenzhou, Yunnan, Shangdong and Jiangsu - a network covering south, east, and north east regions of China. Flag carrier Air China has a majority stake in Shenzhen Airlines, after former stakeholder Huirun filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Air China plans to keep the Shenzhen Airlines brand and use it to expand its presence in southern China and the Pearl River Delta region. The carrier joined the Star Alliance in Nov-2012.
Location of Shenzhen Airlines main hub (Shenzhen Airport)
537 total articles
42 total articles
The growth of China’s “Big Three” airlines – Air China, China Eastern and China Southern – has been spectacular. China Southern’s RPKs have increased from 20 billion in 2000 to nearly 140 billion in 2012. Outside China, the airlines' growth has generally been noticed in terms of international flights, leading to some misconceptions about the sector.
While the Big Three are increasing international flights, they are also increasing domestic services in the same proportion. Domestic RPKs in 2012 accounted for 79% of China Southern’s total RPKs – little change from 2000’s figure of 78%.
This is perhaps baffling to those aware of the huge potential of the outbound Chinese market. While the demand exists, Chinese carriers have failed to capitalise on it – and for good reason. International yields are often significantly lower than domestic yields, and international services are often unprofitable. The implication for the international community is huge: China will continue to hesitate to dispense traffic rights until its airlines have stronger performance, which will enable them to balance foreign growth. But many of the problems are well within their power to solve.
The expansion in late 2013 of Shenzhen Airport’s terminal three will see capacity growth of up to 57.9% as hourly movements increase from 38 to 60. The capacity will grow the local market, a relatively prosperous area that was China’s first free trade zone and has benefitted by tight relations with Hong Kong, just over the border. Shenzhen Airlines and majority owner Air China are the largest carriers and will benefit from the capacity increase.
But rivals are looking to establish a presence, mindful that capacity increases in key Chinese cities will be rare, having already experienced restraints in Beijing and Shanghai but also Guangzhou.
China Southern intends to launch international flights from Shenzhen despite being based in Guangzhou, 99km away. Spring Airlines has larger ambitions, eyeing Shenzhen as its first southern China base. Spring also wants to lure traffic from congested Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The distance from Guangzhou and Hong Kong is close but ground transport restraints make them far away. In other markets LCCs have established successful ground transport options – can Spring replicate that?
Singapore Airlines (SIA) continues to be on the lookout for new partnership opportunities, including potential equity stakes in airlines from key emerging markets such as China and India. While the SIA Group has undergone a dramatic strategic shift over the last two years, the partnership component of its new long-term strategy remains largely unwritten.
Close tie-ups with Virgin Australia, which includes an equity stake which was recently increased to 19.9%, and SAS could be followed by new partnerships with Asian carriers. The SAS and Virgin Australia partnerships, both of which have come under the leadership of SIA Group CEO Goh Choon Phong, are noteworthy but neither carrier serves Singapore or operates from a growth market.
SIA needs a larger portfolio of robust partnerships. But it can make a difficult bedfellow. Forging the right partnerships could prove to be the most challenging aspect of the new SIA strategy.
China's HNA Group continues to find it difficult to identify profitable markets for its three all-premium A330-200 configured with 116 seats, 34 in first class and 82 in business. The aircraft were acquired to fly between Hong Kong and London on subsidiary Hong Kong Airlines, but were removed in Sep-2012 after suffering losses on the route.
While a viable option may have been to reconfigure the aircraft with economy seats, the aircraft have instead been transferred to HNA's flagship investment, Hainan Airlines, and used on domestic sectors between Beijing and Shenzhen, the third busiest route in China and 24th in the world.
Hainan has reported initial load factors ranging between 80% and 94%, but yields have been a challenge. Premium travel in China is still developing, with fares booked in advance not much more expensive than economy. The problem is acute for Hainan's all-premium services, where premium fares are offered at less than half the price of competitors. Despite this, Hainan is considering expanding the service to Beijing-Guangzhou.
Profitability will continue to be a difficult goal, at least until market share and frequencies can be established.
Almost two-thirds of China's domestic airline capacity is now aligned to global marketing alliances following Xiamen Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines' respective entry into SkyTeam and Star Alliance in late Nov-2012. SkyTeam remains the largest alliance in China with 44% of the market while Star has 20% and oneworld no members. While only one-fifth of Chinese carriers are a member now of a global alliance, the majority of the remaining carriers are affiliated with one of China's big four airlines: Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Hainan Airlines. None are pending members to join an alliance.
Should smaller unaligned carriers choose to enter a global alliance, they will likely follow their parent company, as Xiamen and Shenzhen did: Xiamen is partially owned by SkyTeam's China Southern, and Shenzhen by Star's Air China. Based on current capacity and ownership ties, SkyTeam could claim upwards of 50% of the domestic market and Star 26%.
But the smaller carriers are growing rapidly and new airlines are forming. Plus, Hainan Airlines parent HNA, with 15% of the total market, is unaligned but with eyes on oneworld, which has no domestic members but is very itchy for them. The match may seem perfect but is contentious. If it occurs, the membership will be momentous – possibly even more so than Qatar Airways joining oneworld.
Star Alliance is planning a key step forward in boosting its presence in the fast-growing North Asian aviation market by adding EVA Airways, Taiwan's second largest carrier. EVA will be mentored by Air China, which currently is the only Star member in greater China although Shenzhen Airlines is also now in the process of joining the alliance.
EVA's expected entry into Star follows the entry earlier this year of rival Taiwanese carrier China Airlines into SkyTeam, the largest alliance grouping in greater China and North Asia. Star is now striving to close the gap in North Asia between it and SkyTeam by adding multiple new members in greater China.
EVA executives early this year stated the carrier had submitted an application to join Star. EVA’s executive team, led by chairmen James Jeng, attended this week’s Star chief executive board meeting in Addis Ababa to further promote its application. Star’s existing members are understood to be in favour of EVA’s application and a formal announcement will be made in Taipei in the coming months. As the process of joining Star takes 18 to 24 months, EVA could formally join Star as early as 2013.
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